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Muhammed Cetin
Muhammed Cetin

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How to Install WSL2 and Linux Distros on Windows 11?

I will show you how to install WSL2 and then Ubuntu on Windows 11 easily in two steps in this tutorial. Before start, I want to give you brief information about WSL2 and a comparison table of WSL and WSL2.


What are WSL and WSL2?

Windows Subsystem for Linux, also called WSL, is a subsystem allowing Windows 11 and Windows 10 users to run Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Kali, Alpine, or Suse without any effort and no need to change their daily OS.

WSL2 is the latest version of WSL with new features. For more information about WSL and WSL2, you can read this Microsoft Docs articles.

WSL and WSL2 comparison table:

Feature WSL WSL2
Integration between Windows and Linux
Fast boot times
Small resource foot print compared to traditional Virtual Machines
Runs with current versions of VMware and VirtualBox
Managed VM
Full Linux Kernel
Full system call compatibility
Performance across OS file systems

Source: Microsoft Docs


How to Install WSL2?

  1. Open Start Menu and type "Terminal". Right-click the Windows Terminal result, then click Run as Administrator.
    Run Windows Terminal with Administrator Privileges

  2. Windows 11 will ask you for administrator privileges. Click Yes.

  3. Type the wsl --install command and press Enter.
    wsl --install

  4. The installation has been started. Please wait.
    WSL2 installing

  5. Done! You can now install any Linux distribution available on Microsoft Store.
    WSL2 has been installed


Linux Distributions on Microsoft Store

These are the store links of all available (installable) Linux distributions on Microsoft Store. Simply click on one of them to get to it.


How to Install Ubuntu on Windows 11?

I'll show you how to install Ubuntu on Windows 11 via WSL2 as an example. You can install other distributions listed above on your own by following the same steps.

  1. Type "Store" in the Start Menu. Click on the Microsoft Store result.
    Opening Microsoft Store

  2. Type "Ubuntu" on the search box.
    Search for Ubuntu

  3. Choose one of the Ubuntu results that you want to install. Ubuntu refers to Ubuntu's latest stable release. In our case, it means Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. The second result is the same, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. The third result is Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the previous stable version. You can choose a specific version if you wish. My choice is Ubuntu, which is the most current stable version. Click on the one you want.
    Choose the Ubuntu version to install

  4. You'll see the details of the distribution. Start the installation by clicking Get, then Install. Now, Microsoft Store will download and install it automatically.
    Get and Install Ubuntu on Microsoft Store

  5. You need to restart your computer after it has been installed. Open Start Menu and type "Ubuntu". You'll see your Ubuntu instance on your Windows 11. Start by clicking on it.
    Search for Ubuntu on Windows 11

  6. You will be prompted to create a sudo user account with a password. While typing the password, you won't be able to see any characters. It's okay! This is Linux-style.

  7. Finally! You can use Ubuntu for whatever you want.
    Ubuntu Terminal on Windows 11 via WSL


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