This tutorial covers how you can launch the new Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 11. We will do our best to make sure you understand this guide. I hope you will like this blog How to launch the new Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 11. If your answer is yes, please share after reading this.
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Microsoft announced Windows 11 on June 24. The software giant then released the operating system for members of the Windows Insider program, and it can currently be tested by people registered on the Dev and Beta channels. While many welcomed the new UI changes, some were still skeptical of the various inconsistencies that continue to plague Windows in general.
However, one cool feature of Windows 11 is the Enhanced Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which can now natively handle graphics and audio. In this article, we take a look at what’s new in WSL in Windows 11 and how to get started.
What is the Windows Subsystem for Linux?
Most of the time, developers find themselves switching between the familiar Windows interface and the ease of command line-based development toolchains on Linux. Additionally, those handling large amounts of data will find a good number of open source tools developed natively for Linux. The Windows Subsystem for Linux, or WSL for short, allows developers to continue to use Windows as their primary operating system while still providing access to native Linux binaries.
Therefore, users don’t have to worry about the emulation overhead of running virtual machines or the hassle of setting up a dual-boot installation. Although Cygwin provides a POSIX compatibility layer for executing Unix-like commands, it requires the collection of these commands and, as such, has limited applicability. With WSL, Windows users can directly invoke the Linux shell like any other program and run native Linux binaries.
Starting with Windows 10 1903, Microsoft introduced a new version of WSL called WSL 2 that offers tighter integration with the Windows file system, faster boot times, faster disk reads, and a fully functional Linux kernel. . . . Now, with Windows 11, Microsoft is even adding graphical user interface and real-time audio support.
Installing WSL on Windows 11
The installation of the Windows Subsystem for Linux requires certain prerequisites. Because WSL 2 uses a real virtual machine, your CPU must support virtualization. While this shouldn’t be an issue with most modern Intel and AMD processors that power desktops and laptops, this feature is usually disabled in the computer’s BIOS / UEFI.
Boot into your PC’s BIOS / UEFI interface (typically this involves pressing the DEL or F2 key while powering up – see your computer’s user guide for more information). Once in BIOS, find Intel Virtualization Technology or AMD Secure Virtual Machine (also indicated as SVM) depending on your processor and enable it. Save the changes and restart the PC.
Upgrade from WSL 1 to WSL 2
Unless you are upgrading from an older version of Windows with WSL 1, WSL 2 is used by default in all recent versions of Windows 10 (1903 and later) and Windows 11. Using the new GUI, audio and system files requires a mandatory upgrade. at WSL 2.
Follow the steps mentioned below to perform an in-place upgrade from WSL 1 to WSL 2:
1. Type the following at an elevated command prompt, Windows terminal, or PowerShell.
wsl –set-version 2
2. Make sure to enter the exact name of the distribution. If in doubt, write:
wsl -l -v
3. This command lists the installed Linux distributions, their current status, and the version of WSL they are using. Use the name that appears here in the command above to convert a WSL 1 instance to WSL 2.
Enabling WSL on Windows 11
If this is your first time using WSL on Windows 11, you will automatically be offered a WSL 2 environment. All you need to do is make sure that processor virtualization is enabled in the BIOS and that the WSL features are installed in your environment. .
To activate WSL, click the Start button.
Enter “Turn Windows Features On or Off” and in the dialog box, activate Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows Hypervisor Platform, and Virtual Machine Platform.
Click OK and restart the PC.
The best part about WSL 2 is that Windows Update directly provides most of the functions at the kernel level. Your PC may automatically offer the WSL 2 kernel update. Otherwise, go to the Settings app, click Windows Update, and then click Check for Updates to download the latest kernel that enables the WSLg feature (short for WSL GUI ). . .
At this point, keep in mind that you need to have the latest graphics drivers from Intel, NVIDIA, or AMD, depending on your primary GPU adapter, for full GPU acceleration. You can use the beta drivers for your corresponding GPU or just install the latest public versions. Now that the prerequisites are met, you are ready to install a Linux distribution on your Windows 11 machine.
Install a Linux distribution on WSL 2 on Windows 11
The easiest way to get Linux running on Windows 11 is to simply go to the Microsoft Store and search for a distro of your choice. Currently available options include Ubuntu (16.04, 18.04, and 20.04), Kali Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, openSUSE leap, Fedora Remix for WSL, and Debian.
While the Microsoft Store makes it easy to download and install these distros, the options are currently limited. However, with WSL 2 it is possible to create and download your own distribution by obtaining the corresponding .tar file. For this article we will be using Ubuntu because it is very popular and there are some great resources available online if you ever get stuck on a particular command or operation.
Some organizations or teams in a domain may have limited access to the Microsoft Store. In such cases, you can directly download the installation packages from Microsoft. Follow the steps below to install the distribution:
1. You can either double-click the installer or use the following PowerShell command from the installer folder.
2. Once the distribution of your choice is installed, it should instantly appear in the Start menu.
3. Simply click on the icon to start an Ubuntu installation instance.
4. After a few seconds, you will be asked to create a user account and password. If for some reason the installer does not ask for a user account or password, it will start it directly as root.
Remember that operating with root privileges is bad security practice. There is no root password assigned by default, which makes it even more vulnerable. It is always useful to first assign a root password and then create a normal user account. Here’s how you can do it:
1. To assign a new root password, use the command:
sudo password root
2. Next, enter and confirm the new root password. Make sure you write it down securely. To create a normal user account, which can then be used for root access if needed, type:
3. Ubuntu will ask you to enter and confirm your password as well as other information such as your full name and phone number (this is optional).
4. This creates your dedicated / home directory and displays your username with a $ sign at the bash shell prompt.
The WSL 2 Ubuntu instance is now ready to use.
Final words: how you can launch the new Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 11
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