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Install Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows 11

With the release of Windows 11 comes a vastly easier method for installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on your PC.

Microsoft is becoming more supportive of Linux. Illustration: Adam Dimech

At last there is an easy way to run Linux beside Windows. It could be done in Windows 10 but was much more difficult than the Windows 11 experience. Here’s how it’s done:

Firstly, open Windows Terminal (or PowerShell or CMD) as an administrator. To do this, click on the Start button then search for “Windows Terminal”. Right-click on the icon and choose “Run as administrator”.

Choose “Run as Administrator” when executing Windows Terminal in Windows 11.

Next, type the following command into the prompt:

wsl --install

This should automatically download the required components and set-up your Linux environment. You will be required to restart Windows 11 when the installation is complete. Ubuntu is the default flavour of Linux that will be installed with this command.

Windows Terminal screen showing that Windows Subsystem for Linux has been installed.

Once the restart is complete, you will be able to run Windows 11 and Linux side-by-side (within limits).

When you first run WSL, you’ll be asked to submit a username and password for Linux. These will be your Linux credentials and won’t affect any Windows settings.

Ubuntu running inside Windows 11.

If you want to run a different flavour of Linux, you can. These can be run side-by-side if desired.

To check which distributions are available in WSL, enter the following command into Windows Terminal:

wsl --list --online

A list will be generated. At the time of writing, this included:

To install one of these, enter the following command into Windows Terminal where <distro> is the distribution name:

wsl --install -d <Distro>



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