How to run Linux on Windows 10 using WSL2

  1. Make sure you’re running the latest Windows 10 update (StartCheck for Updates). This might require a few rounds of updates and restarts.
  2. Currently, WSL2 is only available in the Windows Insider program: go to StartWindows Insider Program Settings and "Get Started". If you haven't registered before you'll have to go through some steps.
  3. Choose whichever channel you’re comfortable with. At the time of writing, “Release Preview” is sufficient to get WSL2 via the “manual” install path, and “Dev” would let you use the “Simple” install path.
  4. Go to StartWindows Update Settings. Check for and install any updates. When you're fully up to date, you should see a somewhat non-obvious link appear saying something about downloading the latest version. Click it. Restart once it's downloaded everything.
  5. Do a final check for Windows Updates just to make sure you’re all square.
  6. Follow the official WSL2 installation docs. Notes:
  • You want WSL2 (not WSL1)
  • Note that your approach depends on which Insider channel, and therefore Windows version, you’re on — you can check via This PC (right click) → PropertiesOS Build. At the time of writing, the "Release Preview" channel required the "Manual" installation approach.
  • To open Powershell as administrator, StartPowershell (right click) → Run as administrator
  • If you try to run commands that start with wsl during the process, and you get an error that the command was not found, there's a decent chance you missed a restart step.



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Adam Coster

Adam Coster

CTO and Fullstack Webdev at Butterscotch Shenanigans