17.1 Installing Ubuntu WSL

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is available as a feature on Windows 10. Out-of-the-box WSL supports Ubuntu running within Windows. This is the simplest option if you have Windows 10 (1709 or later) installed (see Settings -> System -> About). It also requires the installation of XMing or VcXsrv. Microsoft also released WSLv2 in May 2020 to incorporate the Linux kernel directly within Windows, so as to deliver significant performance gains and support more applications. However WSLv2 is not currently recommended due to its limited access to Windows file systems from Ubuntu.

To get started

  • Install XMing on Windows (download, run, and choose the defaults for the installation).
  • Go to “Turn Windows Features On or Off” (Control Panel -> Programs -> Programs and Features), tick on the box ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux’ to install WSL and reboot.
  • Go to Microsoft Store and search for the latest Ubuntu distribution to install.
  • Launch Ubuntu from the Start menu or else type the command “ubuntu” in the Powershell.
  • For GUI applications run the command $ export DISPLAY=:0 in the Ubuntu terminal window.

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