This article explains how one can install a Linux operating system on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in 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.
Installing WSL is the first step for using a Linux system on a Windows machine. Once WSL is installed, you must also install a Linux distro, and the steps below show you how.
You can install and run Ubuntu, Debian, Kali-Linux, SLES 12 & 15, Arch Linux, and Oracle_Linux. Other distros may be added in the future.
Install Linux distributions on Windows Subsystem for Linux from the Microsoft Store.
As described above, installing WSL on Windows is only the beginning. You must also install a Linux distro to run Linux. You can now run Ubuntu, Debian, Kali-Linux, SLES 12 & 15, Arch Linux, and Oracle_Linux.
Here’s how to do that.
If you haven’t already installed Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 11, read the post below to learn how.
How to install Windows Subsystem or Linux (WSL) on Windows 11
After installing WSL, head to the Microsoft Store to install any or all supported distros.
Once you download the app, it will install the distro you selected and prompt you to enter a username and password. You now have a new Linux distribution created in the WSL environment.
An icon will also be created on the Start menu for the Linux distro you installed.
Install Linux distros for WSL via Windows Terminal
Alternatively, one can install Linux distros using the command line using either the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell app.
On the command line, run the commands below to list all available Linux distributions installed within the WSL environment.
wsl --list --online
The commands above should output similar lines as the one below:
NAME FRIENDLY NAME Ubuntu Ubuntu Debian Debian GNU/Linux kali-linux Kali Linux Rolling SLES-12 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server v12 SLES-15 SUSE Linux Enterprise Server v15 Ubuntu-18.04 Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Ubuntu-20.04 Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Ubuntu-22.04 Ubuntu 22.04 LTS OracleLinux_8_5 Oracle Linux 8.5 OracleLinux_7_9 Oracle Linux 7.9
Now that you have the names of the available distros, you can run the commands below to install a particular distro.
wsl --install -d <name of Linux distro>
Replace <name of Linux distro> with the friendly name on the list above.
wsl --install -d Ubuntu
Once installed, you will be prompted to type in your username and password.
That should do it!
This post showed you how to install Linux distros in the WSL environment in Windows 11. Please use the comment form below if you find any errors above or have something to add.