Virtualization Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in Windows 11


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WSL_banner.png

This tutorial will show you how to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) feature in Windows 11.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux lets developers run a GNU/Linux environment -- including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications -- directly on Windows, unmodified, without the overhead of a traditional virtual machine or dualboot setup.

WSL 2 is a new version of the Windows Subsystem for Linux architecture that powers the Windows Subsystem for Linux to run ELF64 Linux binaries on Windows. Its primary goals are to increase file system performance, as well as adding full system call compatibility. This new architecture changes how these Linux binaries interact with Windows and your computer's hardware, but still provides the same user experience as in WSL 1 (the current widely available version).

Individual Linux distributions can be run with either the WSL 1 or WSL 2 architecture. Each distribution can be upgraded or downgraded at any time and you can run WSL 1 and WSL 2 distributions side by side. WSL 2 uses an entirely new architecture that benefits from running a real Linux kernel.

When you install WSL, it performs the following actions:
References:
WSL is now available in the Microsoft Store. This is the same WSL you know and love but just a different delivery mechanism. Installing WSL from the Store will make it easier to get the latest WSL updates in the future. You can learn more about the Store preview at this blog post or by watching this video.

Starting with Windows 11 build 22518, Microsoft made it easier for new users to get started with the WSL in the Microsoft Store by changing the wsl.exe –install command to install WSL from the Microsoft Store by default. Additionally, Microsoft added some additional arguments to wsl.exe –install to make it easier to configure your install, such as wsl –install –no-launch which will install a new WSL distro without immediately launching it. To see a full list of available commands please run wsl –help. If you want to get started with the Store version right away and already have WSL installed just run wsl –update to update immediately to the Store version!

Starting with Windows 11 Build 25267, the inbox version of Windows Subsystem for Linux has been removed. When you install a build with this change if you’re a WSL user you will need to update to the latest WSL version outlined here in this GitHub post to ensure WSL continues working on your PC. Once you have done that, WSL will continue working on subsequent build updates. In future builds we’re looking to have this done automatically.

Starting with Windows 11 Build 25300, Microsoft improved the upgrade experience to the new Windows Subsystem for Linux Store app (mentioned in Build 25272), so it now prompts for installation if wsl.exe is invoked.


You must be signed in as an administrator to install WSL.



Contents

  • Option One: Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) using Command
  • Option Two: Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) from Microsoft Store


EXAMPLE: WSL (Linux) in Windows 11 File Explorer

Linux_File_Explorer.png





Option One

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) using Command


1 Open Windows Terminal (Admin), and select Command Prompt.

2 Copy and paste the wsl --install command into the elevated terminal, and press Enter. (see screenshot below step 3)

WSL will install the Ubuntu distribution by default using the wsl --install command. If you would prefer to have WSL install a different Linux distribution by default, then use one of the following commands below instead for the distribution you want:

wsl --install -d Debian
wsl --install -d kali-linux
wsl --install -d openSUSE-42
wsl --install -d SLES-12

To see a list of available Linux distributions, enter the wsl --list --online command.


If you already installed WSL, this command will fail to run.

You will have to manually install any Linux distributions you want as usual.


3 When installing WSL has finished, restart the computer to apply.

install_WSL_Windows11-1.png

4 When the computer has finished restarting and you sign back in to Windows 11, WSL will automatically resume after a moment to install the Linux distribution (ex: Ubuntu). (see screenshot below)

install_WSL_Windows11-2.png

5 When the Ubuntu distribution has finished installing, you will then need to create a user account and password for your new Linux distribution (ex: Ubuntu).

install_WSL_Windows11-3.png




Option Two

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) from Microsoft Store


This option requires Windows 11 build 22000 or higher to be installed.




1 Enable the Virtual Machine Platform optional feature.

You can do this by running: dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all in an elevated PowerShell.


2 Install the Windows Subsystem for Linux app from the Microsoft Store. (see screenshot below)

Microsoft_Store_install_WSL.png

3 Install a Linux distro (ex: Ubuntu) of your choice to start using WSL. (see screenshot below)

Ubuntu.png

4 Open the installed distro to finish installing and setting up the distro for WSL. (see screenshots below

Open_Ubuntu.png
setup_distro.png


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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Last edited:
Thank you Shawn 🙏
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home(22631.3235)23H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Swift SFG14-72
    CPU
    i7-155h
    Motherboard
    Coral_MTH
    Memory
    LPDDR5X 32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel Arc Graphics
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    SamsungATNA40YK 11-0
    Screen Resolution
    2880x1800
    Hard Drives
    1TB NVMe Gen 4 M.2 SSD
    Keyboard
    Generic
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
  • Operating System
    Windows 11Home(26058.1400)24H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Predator Triton PT516-51S
    CPU
    i7-11800H
    Motherboard
    Countryman_TLS
    Memory
    16GB DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    RTX 3070
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    NE160QDM-NY1
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1600
    Hard Drives
    WD PC SN810 512GB
    Browser
    Edge, Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
(y)
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING (11GB GDDR5X)
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1 14-eu0098nr (2024)
    CPU
    Intel Core Ultra 7 155H 4.8 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR5x-7467 MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Integrated Intel Arc
    Sound Card
    Poly Studio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14" 2.8K OLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    2880 x 1800
    Hard Drives
    2 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Internet Speed
    Intel Wi-Fi 7 BE200 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5.4
    Browser
    Chrome and Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
Could you add a command to the end to show how to confirm its in version wal 2.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Self Built
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 3900x
    Motherboard
    Asus Strix x570-E
    Memory
    Corsair Dominator Platinum 32Gb@3600MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus Strix 3080 Ti OC
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung Odyssey G7 32" Curved Gaming Monitor, IIYAMA XUB2792QSU-W1 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440@240Hz, 2560x1440@70Hz
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 980 Pro 1 Tb (OS), Samsung 970 Pro 1 Tb (games), Samsung 860 Evo 1Tb (data), Samsung 860 Evo 4 Tb (games), Crucial MX500 1Tb (photos), Synology DS920+ 32 Tb NAS.
    PSU
    Corsair RM850x
    Case
    Corsair Crystal 680x
    Cooling
    Corsair H100i Se Platinum, 8 Corsair QL120/140 fans
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70 RGB Mk 2 SE Rapid Fire
    Mouse
    Corsair M65 Elite
    Internet Speed
    58/12 Mbps
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + Malwarebytes
    Other Info
    Astro a50 Headset, Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet.
    Creative T6300 5.1 Speakers. TPM 2.0 Module.
  • Operating System
    Arch Linux KDE
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Self Built
    CPU
    Ryzen 5600x
    Motherboard
    Asus Strix B550-E
    Memory
    Corsair Vengeance 32Gb@3200MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Gigabyte RTX2070 Super Gaming OC
    Sound Card
    Creative Soundblaster AE-5
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Asus Strix XG43VQ 43" Ultrawide
    Screen Resolution
    3840x1200 @ 120Mhz
    Hard Drives
    Aorus Gen 4 NVMe 1 Tb (Windows Insider), Samsung 850 Pro 512Gb (data), Samsung 850 Evo 1Tb (backups), Samsung 860 Evo 2Tb (Home folder), Blu-ray player
    PSU
    Corsair RM750i
    Case
    Fractal Define R6
    Cooling
    Scythe Mugen 5 rev B and Corsair QL fans
    Mouse
    Glorious Model D
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile Rapidfire
    Internet Speed
    58/12 Mbps
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + Malwarebytes
    Other Info
    Corsair Virtuoso Headset

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING (11GB GDDR5X)
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1 14-eu0098nr (2024)
    CPU
    Intel Core Ultra 7 155H 4.8 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR5x-7467 MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Integrated Intel Arc
    Sound Card
    Poly Studio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14" 2.8K OLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    2880 x 1800
    Hard Drives
    2 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Internet Speed
    Intel Wi-Fi 7 BE200 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5.4
    Browser
    Chrome and Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
Thanks Shawn.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Self Built
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 3900x
    Motherboard
    Asus Strix x570-E
    Memory
    Corsair Dominator Platinum 32Gb@3600MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus Strix 3080 Ti OC
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung Odyssey G7 32" Curved Gaming Monitor, IIYAMA XUB2792QSU-W1 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440@240Hz, 2560x1440@70Hz
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 980 Pro 1 Tb (OS), Samsung 970 Pro 1 Tb (games), Samsung 860 Evo 1Tb (data), Samsung 860 Evo 4 Tb (games), Crucial MX500 1Tb (photos), Synology DS920+ 32 Tb NAS.
    PSU
    Corsair RM850x
    Case
    Corsair Crystal 680x
    Cooling
    Corsair H100i Se Platinum, 8 Corsair QL120/140 fans
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70 RGB Mk 2 SE Rapid Fire
    Mouse
    Corsair M65 Elite
    Internet Speed
    58/12 Mbps
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + Malwarebytes
    Other Info
    Astro a50 Headset, Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet.
    Creative T6300 5.1 Speakers. TPM 2.0 Module.
  • Operating System
    Arch Linux KDE
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Self Built
    CPU
    Ryzen 5600x
    Motherboard
    Asus Strix B550-E
    Memory
    Corsair Vengeance 32Gb@3200MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Gigabyte RTX2070 Super Gaming OC
    Sound Card
    Creative Soundblaster AE-5
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Asus Strix XG43VQ 43" Ultrawide
    Screen Resolution
    3840x1200 @ 120Mhz
    Hard Drives
    Aorus Gen 4 NVMe 1 Tb (Windows Insider), Samsung 850 Pro 512Gb (data), Samsung 850 Evo 1Tb (backups), Samsung 860 Evo 2Tb (Home folder), Blu-ray player
    PSU
    Corsair RM750i
    Case
    Fractal Define R6
    Cooling
    Scythe Mugen 5 rev B and Corsair QL fans
    Mouse
    Glorious Model D
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Low Profile Rapidfire
    Internet Speed
    58/12 Mbps
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender + Malwarebytes
    Other Info
    Corsair Virtuoso Headset
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING (11GB GDDR5X)
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1 14-eu0098nr (2024)
    CPU
    Intel Core Ultra 7 155H 4.8 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR5x-7467 MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Integrated Intel Arc
    Sound Card
    Poly Studio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14" 2.8K OLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    2880 x 1800
    Hard Drives
    2 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Internet Speed
    Intel Wi-Fi 7 BE200 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5.4
    Browser
    Chrome and Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
All I get after installing Ubuntu is the Linux terminal.
How do I get to the Ubuntu desktop ?
 

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My Computer

System One

  • OS
    ghostspectre windows 11 compact
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 3470
    Motherboard
    ASUSTeK P8H61 plus
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer V235HL
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    128 GB SSD
    500 GB HDD
    Keyboard
    HID
    Mouse
    HID-compliant
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
All I get after installing Ubuntu is the Linux terminal.
How do I get to the Ubuntu desktop ?
As an experiment I installed the Clementine music player from the Ubuntu terminal and It showed up and ran from the Windows11 start menu just like it was a windows app. Cool.
So to answer my own question. There is no Ubuntu desktop it allows the installation, from the terminal, and running of Linux software from the Windows Desktop/Start App. menu.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    ghostspectre windows 11 compact
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 3470
    Motherboard
    ASUSTeK P8H61 plus
    Memory
    8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer V235HL
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    128 GB SSD
    500 GB HDD
    Keyboard
    HID
    Mouse
    HID-compliant
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    64 GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DDR4 3600 MHz (F4-3600C18D-32GTZR)
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING (11GB GDDR5X)
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    4TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2,
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S23 Plus phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1 14-eu0098nr (2024)
    CPU
    Intel Core Ultra 7 155H 4.8 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR5x-7467 MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Integrated Intel Arc
    Sound Card
    Poly Studio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14" 2.8K OLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    2880 x 1800
    Hard Drives
    2 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Internet Speed
    Intel Wi-Fi 7 BE200 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5.4
    Browser
    Chrome and Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium

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