Microsoft has made it much easier to install WSL on Windows 10 — like “run a single command” easy.
I recently wrote a post on how to install WSL 2 on Windows 10. That guide is still valid (and still works) and those of you who want to take advantage of all the great new WSL 2 features (like GPU support, Explorer integration, the use of a real Linux kernel) can follow along.
But I won’t lie: that method is a bit …steppy.
So Microsoft has made installing WSL on Windows much simpler.
The corp’s dedicated WSL team intro a new
wsl.exe --install command. Windows 10 users can run this from PowerShell app as an administrator to Install WSL 2 on Windows 10.
“In this initial release, this command will enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux optional component, as well as the Virtual Machine Platform optional component, and prompt you to restart your machine,” says Microsoft’s Craig Loewen.
wsl.exe --install command is available on Windows Insider Preview Build 20150 or later.
Microsoft says it is also making WSL 2 the default version of WSL for new installations (which cuts out another step, though the command to opt for WSL 1 will remain available). It is also adding a kernel update command:
wsl.exe --update to make installing new kernel versions accessible from where the kernel is actually used.
The new streamlined command isn’t entirely input-free, though. It doesn’t, for instance, install a Linux distro (like Ubuntu), though Microsoft says it hopes to add support for this soon.
Update October 2020: The command now installs Ubuntu 20.04 LTS to on Insider Preview build 20246 and above.
But I think it’s a welcome step nonetheless, especially with Microsoft revealing that WSL is now used on a staggering 3.5 million “active” monthly devices — impressive, right?