I have both Windows Terminal and Ubuntu installed from the Microsoft Store inside of Windows 10 (I don't know if this is WSL Version 1 or Version 2. The wsl -l -v command failed.).

My default directory is set to the right directory but it always opens up to root. How can I fix this config?

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  • In Powershell wsl -l works, but the -v breaks the command and output from wsl -h is returned. The commands from the link you posted did not work either. I edited my post yesterday but this question appears to be dead. What can I do to improve it? – Jake Nixon Oct 1 '19 at 18:48
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    See scotch.io/bar-talk/… – K7AAY Oct 1 '19 at 18:52
  • @K7AAY -v doesn't work in WSL1 – Kulfy Oct 2 '19 at 11:08
  • Aha! A clew has been found! – K7AAY Oct 2 '19 at 17:41

This is an issue raised on Microsoft Terminal's GitHub Page in Windows Terminal as startingDirectory setting issue for wsl profile #592 . And not respecting things is a hobby of some things.

Actually it seems that startingDirectory Windows Terminal doesn't work well under WSL fs paths since the issue isn't specific to $HOME, it exists for all folders in /.

While the user3140225's approach is a good start but as per DHowett-MSFT's comment:

This is also a great way to get weird and unexpected behaviour in everything else that uses bash on your machine. 😄

Since in Ubuntu's profile you've provided the command line wsl.exe -d Ubuntu. This command line invokes WSL and ask it to start "Ubuntu" which is done in the current directory, i.e. if you run wsl.exe -d Ubuntu while in Desktop of Windows, Ubuntu will start on Windows' Desktop.

As a workaround, you can modify the command line and use one of the below.

  1. Since WSL is specifically for Linux, thus Tilde Expansion can be expected from that. Therefore, you can specify the "starting directory" in the command line and use the following as the value of command line.

    wsl.exe ~ -d ubuntu
  2. When Ubuntu app is installed, it automatically registers ubuntu command. Therefore, ubuntu command will invoke Ubuntu App. The benefit of this is that it always starts at $HOME. Therefore, you can change the value of command-line to


    Note: If you are using Ubuntu 18.04 or 16.04 app, the command would vary accordingly. The above is only for Ubuntu App.

  3. If you're uncomfortable in changing command-line, you can still get it to work by modifying startDirectory to


    Credits: caksoylar 's comment

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    Thanks for all of this information, including the page about Tilde Expansion. I changed the JSON configuration inside of Windows Terminal to add the ~ to wsl.exe -d ubuntu and my problem is solved. I deleted the cd ~ from my .bashrc file to avoid any strange behavior from other bash utilities. Thanks very much! – Jake Nixon Oct 3 '19 at 23:21

Open WSL and cd to your home directory:

cd ~

Then use nano to edit your .bashrc file:

nano .bashrc

At the bottom of the file add the following line:

cd ~

Finally, restart WSL.

  • 1
    In one line: echo 'cd ~' >>~/.bashrc – dessert Oct 12 '19 at 5:33

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