Cannot find runtime ‘node’ on PATH. Is ‘node’ installed?

On my current Windows box, I have Node.js installed only in WSL – not on Windows itself.

When debugging a Node.js application from within a Visual Studio Code instance started from WSL, you may receive the following message:

Cannot find runtime 'node' on PATH. Is 'node' installed?
Cannot find runtime ‘node’ on PATH. Is ‘node’ installed?

While the dev experience certainly could be better, the solution is quite simple: Click on the “Open launch.json” button and add a configuration for “useWSL” with the value set to “true”.

"version": "0.2.0",
"configurations": [
"type": "node",
"request": "launch",
"name": "Launch Program",
"program": "${workspaceFolder}\\entry-point.js",
"useWSL": true
view raw launch.json hosted with ❤ by GitHub

Published by

Alfred Myers

I have been interested in computers since I got my hands on a magazine about digital electronics back in 1983 and programming them has been paying the bills since 1991. Holding a dozen Microsoft certifications and being awarded Microsoft MVP in C# for five years in a row starting in 2007, recently I've been educating myself on open source technologies such as Linux, networking and the open web platform.

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