How to Check and Update WSL Kernel on Windows 11

Windows subsystem for linux background

This article explains how to check and update Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) Kernel on Windows 11.

Windows Subsystem for Linux lets developers run a GNU/Linux environment directly in Windows without setting up a virtual machine or dual-boot, including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications.

When WSL version 2 is installed on Windows, you can update its kernel and other components with a single command. One can also use the same command to check the version installed.

Windows update feature that allows PCs to receive updates for other Microsoft products will automatically update Windows Systems for Linux (WSL) kernel when a new version is available.

However, if you want to check and download the latest updates for the subsystem kernel and other components, the wsl.exe command-line tool is what you will need to use to do that.

Check and download WSL Kernels on Windows

As mentioned above, when you download updates for other Microsoft products in Windows, WSL kernels will automatically be updated.

Howerver, if you want to check and update the kernel manually, the steps below show you how.

First, open the Windows Terminal app as administrator. Then, run the command below using either the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell to check the current version of WSL installed on your computer.

wsl --version

The command above will display information about the current version of WSL installed.

If you wish to update manually, run the commands below.

wsl --update

If you update and run into issues, you can revert to the previous kernel version by running the commands below.

wsl --update --rollback

There might be a slight delay between when Microsoft releases a new kernel to GitHub and when the update becomes available through Windows Update.

So, updating using the wls.exe command may not necessarily install the latest releases found on its release page on GitHub.

That should do it!


This post showed you how to check and update the WSL kernel on Windows 11. If you find any errors above or have something to add, please use the comments form below.

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