Linux on Windows - Subsystem for Linux Setup

Written by rajkiran on Saturday August 4, 2018

If you miss UNIX while working on Windows or would like to try experimenting with unix, Windows 10 offers an impressive feature that is worth exploring.

You can now install Windows Sub System for Linux (WSL) on Windows10 with a Linux distribution of your choice. As of now, the supported distributions are Ubuntu, SUSE, Kali and Debian. More info on this feature can be found here..

This subsystem seems to be very light weight and is definitely a better option than having to run the full Virtual Machine on window server.(!! requires developer option to be enabled on your machine !!). 

Here is a quick note on the setup and few tests using some specific features..

At high level, the setup involves enabling developer mode,  windows subsystem for Linux options and installing the desired linux distro from Microsoft App Store

Enable Developer Mode

Go to "For developers" Option from Settings and choose the developer mode option

Settings --> For Developers --> Choose Developer Mode


Enable Windows Subsystem For Linux Feature

Search for Windows Features On/Off in Settings and look for the WIndows Subsystem for Linux option. You may need to restart the machine after enabling this feature..

Settings --> Turn Windows features on/off --> chooose Windows Subsystem for Linux


Choose the Linux Distro 

Go to Microsoft store and look for the Linux Distro of your choice in the Apps Section.


After the installation, you can  invoke Unix Shell with bash command from the Command prompt tool or by launching the  the Linux Distro Terminal ( ubuntu in my case )


Apart from the regular unix commands, I have tried out  the following few specific things which make me believe that this WSL is indeed an exciting feature for the developers.

1) Graphical Environment with X11 features

2) Apache web server

3) docker containers

I have listed these details as a separate post here..