Just a Command: Microsoft Has Simplified the Installation of Linux for Windows

Microsoft has made it easy to install the Linux subsystem for Windows (WSL) in the Windows 10 OS. Now, one simple console command is all that is required. 

For advanced users, Microsoft developers have provided several more interesting functions, in particular, the ability to update the Linux kernel or roll it back to the previous version.

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Linux on Windows with a command

Now users of the Windows 10 operating system can activate support for running Linux applications with just one command. The announcement was published in the Microsoft developers’ blog.

Windows 10 screen

The so-called Linux subsystem provides Linux applications in Windows 10. Previously, its installation was carried out in several stages (including installing packages from the internet and activating additional components) according to instructions posted on the Microsoft website.

Everyone can get now access to the new feature. To do this, you will need to update the OS at least to version 2004 (May 2020 update) or install the preliminary cumulative update KB5004296 through the Windows Update Center. The latter also includes fixes for some problems related to running computer games.

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Installing and using WSL

In Windows 10 versions 2004 and later, you can install WSL by launching the command prompt window with administrator rights, and enter a simple command: “wsl.exe –install.”

WSL installation screen

After pressing the enter button, the system will automatically activate all the necessary components and install the Ubuntu distribution and the latest version of the Linux kernel on the PC. At the end of the process, you will need to reboot. After that, the installed Linux distribution will start to complete the configuration.

If the user is not satisfied with Ubuntu for one reason or another, he can use the command “wsl.exe –list –online” and display a list of available alternatives in the console. After selecting the most suitable distribution, a user can install it by entering the command “wsl –install –d <distribution name>” (but put the actual name of the distribution you want to install).This way, you can choose your preferred distribution or install several Linux distributions.

In addition, Microsoft developers have provided several commands for managing the Linux kernel in WSL2. For example, the command “wsl –update” allows updating it to the latest available version, and “wsl –update rollback” allows rolling back to the previous one.

Finally, the “wsl –status” command displays information about the WSL configuration on the machine, including the default distribution and the Linux kernel version.

In addition, the user can use additional command-line keys to update the Linux kernel or roll it back to a previous version and view general information about its configuration.

The Linux subsystem for Windows first appeared in Microsoft operating systems starting with 64-bit Windows 10. It allows you to create a software environment for running Linux tools and applications while still keeping your Windows OS.

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