How to Install Linux on Windows with WSL? A Comprehensive Guide


The integration of Linux with Windows has become increasingly popular, thanks to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). WSL allows users to run a full Linux distribution alongside their Windows operating system, eliminating the need for dual-boot setups. This guide will walk you through the process of installing Linux on Windows using WSL, providing detailed steps and valuable insights for a smooth experience.

How to Install Linux on Windows with WSL?

Setting up Linux on Windows using WSL is a straightforward process that empowers users to harness the capabilities of both operating systems. Follow these steps to get Linux up and running within your Windows environment:

Enable WSL Feature: Before proceeding, ensure that the WSL feature is enabled on your Windows machine. Open PowerShell as an administrator and run the command: wsl --install.

Choose a Linux Distribution: Visit the Microsoft Store and select your preferred Linux distribution. Popular options include Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora. Click “Install” to begin the download.

Initialize Linux: Once the installation is complete, launch the Linux distribution from the Start menu. The initialization process will begin, during which you’ll be prompted to create a username and password for your Linux environment.

Update Package Repositories: Run the following commands in the Linux terminal to update the package repositories:bashCopy codesudo apt update sudo apt upgrade

Exploring Linux on Windows: With WSL successfully installed, you can now access your Linux environment by launching the distribution you installed. This will open a Linux terminal window within your Windows interface.

Installing Additional Software: Use the Linux terminal to install any additional software packages you need. For instance, to install Git, run:bashCopy codesudo apt install git

File System Access: WSL provides seamless integration between the Windows and Linux file systems. You can access your Windows files within the Linux environment at /mnt/c/ (or the appropriate drive letter).

Running Graphical Applications: WSL 2 supports the running of graphical Linux applications. To achieve this, you’ll need to install an X server for Windows, such as X410. Once installed, set the DISPLAY variable in the Linux terminal and install your desired graphical application.

Leveraging the Power of Linux and Windows Together

The combination of Linux and Windows through WSL brings forth a multitude of advantages. Users can leverage the stability and security of Linux alongside the user-friendly interface of Windows. Additionally, developers can seamlessly test their applications across both platforms, ensuring compatibility and performance.


Can I run multiple Linux distributions with WSL?

Yes, WSL allows you to install and run multiple Linux distributions simultaneously. Each distribution operates as an isolated environment, enabling you to work with different setups and tools.

Is WSL suitable for production environments?

While WSL is incredibly useful for development and testing purposes, it’s not recommended for production environments that require high performance and reliability. For production, it’s best to use dedicated servers or virtual machines.

Can I access Windows files from Linux within WSL?

Absolutely, WSL provides access to Windows files through the /mnt/ directory. You can navigate and manipulate your Windows files seamlessly from the Linux terminal.

What’s the difference between WSL 1 and WSL 2?

WSL 1 and WSL 2 are two versions of the Windows Subsystem for Linux. WSL 1 offers compatibility and integration, while WSL 2 provides a full Linux kernel for improved performance and enhanced functionalities.

Can I install GUI desktop environments with WSL?

Yes, you can install GUI desktop environments with WSL, but it requires additional setup. You’ll need to install an X server on Windows and configure it to display Linux GUI applications.

Is WSL available on all Windows versions?

WSL is available on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 or later versions. However, WSL 2 requires Windows 10 version 1903 or higher with Build 18362 or higher.

How do I run Linux in Windows using WSL?

You can run Linux in Windows using WSL by installing a Linux distribution from the Microsoft Store and then accessing it through the command-line interface.

How to install Linux kernel in Windows 10?

To install the Linux kernel in Windows 10, you can use the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) feature.

How to install Linux on Windows with wsl?

You can install Linux on Windows using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) by enabling it through the Windows Features settings.

How do I update WSL2 on Windows 10?

To update WSL2 on Windows 10, you can use the command-line interface to run “wsl –set-version 2″ to set the WSL version to 2.

How do I run Linux in Windows using WSL?

You can run Linux in Windows using WSL by installing a Linux distribution from the Microsoft Store and then accessing it through the command-line interface.

How do I run WSL Linux on Windows?

To run a WSL Linux distribution on Windows, you need to open a terminal and type the name of the installed distribution, like “wsl ubuntu,” to start it.


In conclusion, installing Linux on Windows with WSL opens up a world of possibilities for users seeking the best of both operating systems. With this guide, you’ve learned the step-by-step process, benefits, and potential applications of running Linux alongside Windows. Embrace the power of WSL to streamline your workflow, enhance your development process, and explore new horizons in the world of computing.

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