windows explorer can access wsl files

It’s already possible to access WSL Linux files from Windows 10 through the File Explorer, but it’s not exactly obvious how.

Well, that’s changing.

The latest Windows 10 Insider builds shows a Linux ‘node’ in the Explorer sidebar (denoted by a cute Tux icon for added Linuxicity) for easy, instant access to Linux files and folders in WSL distros.

Microsoft explains that “…selecting the Linux icon will show you a view of all your distros, and selecting those will place you in the Linux root file system for that distro.”

This means that you no longer need to manually launch explorer.exe via WSL inside the correct distro; remember how to correctly type the \\wsl$ path in the Explorer location bar; or manually create your own shortcuts.

Just select the Tux icon in the left-hand sidebar, pick a distro, and browse away!

Microsoft’s Richard Turner adds that “…th[is] mechanism fully supports effective permissions & correct metadata management” — though you probably shouldn’t edit WSL files in Windows software directly.

Keen to try this out? Look out for it in a future Windows 10 or WSL update. To get ahead of the curve (and get your hands on it right now) you can install Windows 10 Insider build 19603.

Now, how about native EXT4 support in File Explorer too? ☺️

Image credit: @richturn_ms

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