Virtualization Change Default Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) Distro in Windows 11

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This tutorial will show you how to change the default Linux distro for your account in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) lets developers install a Linux distribution (such as Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Kali, Debian, Arch Linux, etc) and use Linux applications, utilities, and Bash command-line tools directly on Windows, unmodified, without the overhead of a traditional virtual machine or dualboot setup.

The first Linux distro you install after installing Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) will be the default Linux distribution.

The default Linux distribution is the distro that WSL commands will use to run.

If you have more than one Linux distro installed, you can change the default Linux distribution to one you prefer.


Here's How:

1 Open Windows Terminal, and select either Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt.

2 Copy and paste the command below into Windows Terminal, and press Enter to see a list of all installed Linux distros. (see screenshot below)

The current default Linux distro (ex: "Ubuntu") will have (Default) next to it.

wsl --list --all or wsl -l


3 Type the command below into Windows Terminal, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

wsl --setdefault <name of Linux distro>

Substitute <name of Linux distro> in the command above with the actual Linux distro name (ex: "Debian") from step 2 you want to set as default.

wsl --setdefault Debian


That's it,
Shawn Brink

Last edited:
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