How to install Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows 11

Windows has had some level of support for running Linux since 2016, when the Windows 10 Anniversary Update was released.

However, it was difficult to work at that time, but with the second version of Windows Subsystem for Linux in 2019, things got a lot more user-friendly. Now that Windows 11 is out, it’s even easier to get Linux running on your Windows desktop.

We will show you how and also how to install a different version of Linux if you don’t want the default, which is Ubuntu. All you need is a computer running Windows 11 and a few minutes.

Want the Windows Subsystem for Linux? Start here

Image: KnowTechie

With Windows 11, you don’t have to manually activate anything, search for settings, or even download anything to extract. All you need are built-in tools and the ability to type.

  1. To throw PowerShell Where Command Prompt as administrator. The easiest way is to search for “Powershell” or “Command Prompt” and then choose the Execute as administrator option among search termswindows powershell in the start menu

  2. Type wsl –install and hit Enter

    powershell window showing the Windows subsystem install command for linux

  3. This will install all the services WSL needs, the utility itself, as well as downloading and installing Ubuntu, which is the default Linux distribution or distribution used by Windows. You can change the Linux version later if you prefer another distribution.

    None of this will be usable until you restart your PC, so …

  4. Restart your computer. Wait for the notification that WSL is installed, then restart.

  5. When you are back on the desktop, a window will appear stating that it is installing WSL and Ubuntu. Once completed, you will receive a prompt to create a username and password for WSL use. We suggest that you do not use your Windows credentials here, as they will only be used in the WSL.

  6. To install another Linux distribution

    Open a command window as administrator (as in step 1) then type wsl –list –onlinescreenshot showing the different Linux distributions you can install in wsl

  7. You will get a list of options which can be downloaded and installed for you. At the time of writing this includes Ubuntu, Debian, kali-linux, openSUSE, and SUSE.

  8. To install one, type wsl –install -d where distro is the FRIENDLY NAME of the list. We install hackers’ favorite kali-linux herewsl install kali-linux

  9. You can also install Linux from the Microsoft Store

    Open the Microsoft Store and search Linux. Microsoft Store showing Linux options

  10. Click on the distribution you want, then click To install

You now have a Linux distribution installed in the Subsystem for Linux. Have fun learning the command line!

Do you have any ideas on this? Let us know below in the comments or refer the discussion to our Twitter Where Facebook.

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Steven L. Nielsen

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