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.