Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Linux is now available as a Microsoft Store app

Polycount

Posts: 2,934   +588
Staff member
In context: Microsoft's handy "Windows Subsystem for Linux" (WSL) tool has been available in some capacity for years now. WSL allows users to run a full Linux environment of their choosing -- and your favorite Linux utilities and software -- directly inside Windows. No need to worry about dual booting or setting up a resource-intensive virtual machine. Now, with the launch of Windows 11, snagging the WSL has become easier and more accessible than ever.

To be clear, it was never a difficult process, per se; Microsoft maintains a set of easy-to-follow installation instructions over in its WSL documentation. However, it did require basic knowledge and familiarity with command lines, which the average user may not have. Granted, those users might prefer to stick to Windows instead of Linux, but the latter OS is certainly gaining popularity in the mainstream world.

At any rate, the WSL App is available on both Windows 11 and Windows 10 machines, despite Microsoft dropping the latter from its official announcement post. However, Windows 10 users will need to be running version 22000.0 or higher of the OS to use it. Notably, the non-Windows Store version supports Windows 10 builds as old as 19041 (or so Microsoft says).

Here's a direct link to the Microsoft Store page for the WSL app. It's roughly 442MB in size, so it won't hog too much space on your PC. It is currently considered a "Preview," though, so be prepared for bugs or missing functionality. With that said, assuming it is WSL 2.0, it should be a decent-enough experience out of the box.

Hopefully, most of you won't have any problems, but if you do, be sure to let us know in the comments below.

As a final clarifying point, existing WSL users are not required to download the MS Store version to continue receiving updates. You can still get those the old-fashioned way, but Microsoft would like you to transition eventually, as it hopes to make the Store app the "best way to install and use" the WSL in the long term.

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VitalyT

Posts: 6,032   +6,400
I'd like to try it, from inside a Linux Subsystem for Windows...

Imagine The Matrix movie were called The VM, because that's what it was, technically.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,337   +2,625
I think you can even ruin GUI versions with this last I saw. So if you ever want to browse "securely" in Windows (As securely as you can realistically get) you could try running something like a Linux build of Firefox or Tor with this.

Probably not as good as running a container or full VM version but likely way easier to set up
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,907   +4,186
Running Windows under Linux would be a lot more useful than the reverse. Better yet, give us a solid, no-hassle, high-performance Windows compatibility layer for Linux.
You can do that in virtual machines with passthrough functions. You need enterprise hardware to do it, but that can be found cheap on the used market after a few years. Consumer AMD graphics cards support it but you'll need Tesla graphics cards if you want to go nVidia
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 326   +580
You can do that in virtual machines with passthrough functions. You need enterprise hardware to do it, but that can be found cheap on the used market after a few years. Consumer AMD graphics cards support it but you'll need Tesla graphics cards if you want to go nVidia

You don't really need enterprise hardware nor a Tesla card.

I run Windows 11 under Ubuntu 20.04 on qemu-kvm in virt-manager, on a regular Coffee Lake system, with an Nvidia 2070 passed through to Windows.

I didn't even need to cheat the Windows 11 install as kvm provides a fake TPM 2.0 and a UEFI with fake secureboot, which Windows 11 is perfectly happy with.

It's low overhead and benchmarks almost as fast as a real system, and 100% compatible.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,364   +7,166
I guess better late than ever or in MicroSludge's' case "than ever". Seeing how many bugs they regularly put out I seriously doubt I'll use it, especially since I figured out how to run all my games under linux ..... the old Windows system isn't long for this world .....
 
It occurs to me that people use Linux to escape Windows. I can't imagine a world where anyone serious would use this. Besides, didn't they find a massive security flaw in it just last week??
 

Gezzer

Posts: 172   +89
It occurs to me that people use Linux to escape Windows. I can't imagine a world where anyone serious would use this. Besides, didn't they find a massive security flaw in it just last week??

Developers maybe? Being able to jump back and forth between a distro and Windows might be useful for them. Anyone else? Yeah, don't see it.