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How to Install and use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 10

How to Install and use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 10

Microsoft continues to invest on making Windows 10 the best productivity operating system. But did you know?, You can download and run Linux on Windows 10 natively. Yes, It is possible and we are talking about the Linux Bash shell.

Bash shell is simply a command-line utility that has been part of Linux for a long time, and it’s often used by developers. It’s all thanks to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

This is a feature which allows you to quickly and easily install and run one of many Linux distribution in a matter of minutes on Windows operating system.

But don’t get confused, this isn’t Linux on Windows either, unlike the real Bash shell you will find in Linux, the version of the command line utility has some limitations with Windows.

For example, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is not designed to run Linux graphical applications (e.g. KDE, Gnome, etc.) on Windows 10. The tool is only to offer developers a text-based command-line feature to run Bash and core Linux tools within Windows 10 operating system.

In this step by step guide, we will walk you through the steps to install and use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) command-line tool on your Windows 10 PC.

Outline of this post:

  • Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 10
  • Download & install Linux distribution from Microsoft Store
  • Use Ubuntu Bash Shell in Windows 10
  • Play with Linux commands in Ubuntu Bash shell

How to enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 10

Unlike installing Linux in a virtual machine, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) can be instantly called from the “Start” menu. However, before you can use Linux Bash shell in Windows 10, you need to turn it on. Here’s how.

Step 1: Open Search and type “Turn Windows features on or off” and select the result.

Type turn windows features on or off and select the result - Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 10 - WSL on Windows 10

Step 2: In the Windows Features, check the Windows Subsystem for Linux option and click OK.

Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 10 from Control Panel - WSL on Windows 10

Step 3: Click the Restart now button to finish installation of Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Restart to finish installation of Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) - WSL on Windows 10

How to download & install Linux distribution (Ubuntu) from Microsoft Store

Once the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is installed on Windows 10, the next step is to download a Linux distribution from Microsoft store, which will give you access to the Linux Bash shell on your Windows 10 PC. Here are the steps which you need to follow:

Step 1: Open Microsoft Store from the “Start” menu, and search for “Linux” in the store. You will see a list of every Linux distribution currently available in the Microsoft Store.

As of writing this article,  Microsoft Store includes Ubuntu, openSUSE Leap, openSUSE Enterprise, Debian Linux and Kali Linux.

Sunil Pradhan

Developer, Explorer, Learner. My hunger and curiosity drive me forward in directions I want to go.

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Sunil Pradhan

Developer, Explorer, Learner. My hunger and curiosity drive me forward in directions I want to go.