Running Linux on Windows

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You can easily run Linux on Windows using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

A lot of Linux tools are available, but a lot of people are still running Microsoft Windows, so it can be advantageous to have Linux readily available on Windows.[1]

Since 2019 Microsoft delivered WSL 2, that offers a nice Linux experience on Windows 11, without the need to install an emulator like VirtualBox.


  • You do not need to partition your hard disk
  • Very easy to install and upgrade
  • Extremely fast (95% relative to native Linux performance)
  • No other software necessary:
    • No emulator or virtual machine required
    • Available as a simple option on Windows 11
  • You can run X Window applications without an X Window emulator like Exceed
  • Uses all 12 cores instead of only 6 cores in VirtualBox
  • Seamless integration with Windows
    • Access to all Windows file systems (most of them are compatible with Linux)


The default distribution is Ubuntu, but you can choose your own (including Android).


  • Windows 11
    • administrator PowerShell for the initial installation
    • user mode sessions can be run with the normal PowerShell
  • Hardware:


Extremely easy: start an administrator PowerShell, then:

wsl -l
wsl --install

Now you can test if X Window is working:

xclock &

To upgrade:

wsl --update


It is using parts (9P protocol) of the Plan 9 OS (from Bell Labs).

Known problems[edit]

Linux filesystem requirements[edit]

Some specific Linux functionality require a native Linux filesystem, and fails with the 9P protocol. Examples: the Pywikibot user password file (must be protected by the 600 access mask).

Alternative solutions[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Admin Magazine 72 p 40, Windows Subsysem for Linux and Android in Windows 11