Microsoft introduced Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to the Microsoft Store on Windows 11 over a year ago in a preview form. For those who are unaware, Windows 10 now includes WSL, a feature that Microsoft implemented in 2017. Because of this, programmers can run GNU/Linux environments directly inside of Windows without the need for virtual machines (VMs) or dual-boot setups. WSL is now readily accessible for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 users through the Microsoft Store.
The “Preview” designation has been dropped by Microsoft with the launch of WSL version 1.0.0. Furthermore, it has changed the default behaviour of WSL for users that use the wsl —install or wsl —update commands.
Microsoft has emphasised a number of benefits of using the Store version of WSL. These include, among other things, faster updates, enhanced error printing, the combination of WSLg and WSL, and the option to enable systemd support.
Other enhancements brought about by making the Microsoft Store version of WSL the default setting on both OSes and backporting it to Windows 10 include:
- With the “Windows Subsystem for Linux” optional component disabled and the WSL kernel and WSLg MSI packages no longer required, wsl.exe —install will now automatically install the Store version of WSL (The Virtual machine platform optional component will still be enabled, and by default Ubuntu will still be installed).
- Additionally, wsl.exe -install now contains:
- —inbox uses the extra Windows component to install WSL rather than the Microsoft Store
- -wsl1 When installing the Microsoft Store version, it enables WSL 1 functionality by also enabling the “Windows Subsystem for Linux” optional component —no-distribution. When installing WSL, do not install a distribution.
- —no-launch Don’t launch the distro automatically after installing —web-download Instead of using the Microsoft Store, get the latest recent version of WSL from the internet.
- Instead of updating the WSL kernel MSI, wsl.exe —update now checks for and applies updates for the WSL MSIX package from the Microsoft Store.
- Once a week, while starting up WSL using the Windows optional component version, a notification will appear letting you know that you can upgrade to the Store version by running wsl —update.
- However, there is a known problem with the Microsoft Store version: if you are operating in a “session 0” session, WSL may not start.
This brand-new WSL experience is currently exclusively accessible to searchers, but by mid-December, everyone will have access to it automatically. In order to complete the seeker process, you must first check for Windows updates and then install either KB5020030 for Windows 10 or KB5019157 for Windows 11. The Microsoft Store version of WSL can then be obtained by using the wsl —install (for new users) or wsl —update (for current users) commands. Or, you might download the most recent release from GitHub and manually install it.
It’s crucial to realise that the “Windows Subsystem for Linux” optional component must still be manually installed if you’re using a WSL 1 distro. More crucially, going future, the Microsoft Store version of WSL will be the only one to receive new features; only essential bug fixes will be made to the built-in Windows version.
You can download Windows Subsystem for Linux from the Microsoft Store here.