If you’re using the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) and you’ve encountered the error message “The Windows Subsystem for Linux instance has terminated”, you’re not alone. This error, often accompanied by the mysterious “process exited with code 4294967295”, can be frustrating and confusing. But don’t worry, in this article, we’ll walk you through several solutions to get your WSL2 up and running again.
Understanding the Error
Before we dive into the solutions, let’s take a moment to understand what this error means. The error message is essentially saying that the WSL2 instance has stopped running unexpectedly. The exit code “4294967295” is a generic error code that Windows uses when a process terminates without providing a specific reason.
Step 1: Check Your Windows Version
The first thing you should do is to ensure that your Windows system is up-to-date. Microsoft regularly releases updates to improve system stability and fix bugs. You can check for updates by going to
Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
Step 2: Run WSL from PowerShell
Next, try running the
wsl command from PowerShell. This may provide a more detailed error message that can help you diagnose the problem. To do this, open PowerShell and type
wsl and hit Enter. Note any error messages that appear.
Step 3: Review Windows Event Viewer
The Windows Event Viewer is a powerful tool that can provide more information about system errors. To access it, press
Win + X and select
Event Viewer. Look for any events related to WSL2 or Ubuntu.
Step 4: Check for Conflicting Services
Some users have reported that certain services, particularly those listening on port 53 (DNS), can cause conflicts with WSL2. VPN software and Acrylic DNS Proxy are common culprits. If you have any such software installed, try disabling or uninstalling it and then launch the Ubuntu distro again.
Step 5: Remove NAS Storage Entry
If your Ubuntu distro fails to start due to a connection issue with NAS storage, you can try removing the NAS storage entry in the
/etc/fstab file. This file is used to control how disk partitions and other block devices are mounted in Linux. You can edit this file using a text editor like nano or vim.
Step 6: Backup Your Files
If all else fails, you should at least try to backup your files. You can do this by navigating to the WSL file system, which is located at
%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Packages\CanonicalGroupLimited.Ubuntu20.04onWindows_xxxxxxxx\LocalState\rootfs. Copy any important files to a safe location.
While the “The Windows Subsystem for Linux instance has terminated” error can be frustrating, there are several potential solutions that can help you get your WSL2 instance back up and running. Remember to backup your files regularly to avoid data loss, and keep your system up-to-date to ensure you have the latest bug fixes and improvements.
To check your Windows version, go to
Settings > System > About and look for the "Windows specifications" section. The version number will be listed there.
To run the
wsl command from PowerShell, open PowerShell and simply type
wsl and hit Enter. This will start the default WSL distribution.
To access the Windows Event Viewer, press
Win + X on your keyboard and select "Event Viewer" from the menu that appears. The Event Viewer window will open, where you can view system events and logs.
To edit the
/etc/fstab file in WSL2, you can use a text editor like nano or vim. Open your WSL2 terminal and type
sudo nano /etc/fstab or
sudo vim /etc/fstab, depending on your preferred text editor. Make the necessary changes, save the file, and exit the editor.
The WSL file system is located at
xxxxxxxx represents a unique identifier for your specific WSL distribution. Copy any important files from this location to a safe location for backup.
It’s recommended to backup your files regularly to avoid data loss. The frequency of backups depends on your usage and the importance of the data. As a general rule, consider backing up important files at least once a week or whenever you make significant changes.