For a certain type of person, the new additions to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) are some of the best features in Windows 11. And Microsoft has announced that the new WSL features will be even easier to obtain in the future. The company released a preview version of WSL on the Microsoft Store so that Windows 11 users can download and update WSL independently from other Windows updates.
Many built-in Windows apps are already updated through the Microsoft Store rather than through regular Windows Updates. This gives the company more flexibility in deciding when to update applications, although a side effect has been that many preinstalled Windows 11 applications still have not been fully updated for Windows 11. But at In the long run, it also means that you don’t have to wait for a new Windows update to benefit from the updated applications.
For WSL, that means you won’t need to install major and potentially disruptive Windows updates (like, say, Windows 11) just to take advantage of the new WSL additions. Microsoft specifically calls “GUI application support, GPU computation, and Linux file system drive mounting” as the main feature types that can be added through Microsoft Store updates, in addition to less flashy updates like newer linux kernel versions.
For now, the Microsoft Store version of WSL is just a “preview,” and the officially supported version you should use for important things is still the one that’s built into Windows. But the long-term goal is for the Store version of WSL to be “the best way to install and use WSL.” Microsoft will take user feedback into account when deciding what to do with the built-in, non-Store version of WSL in future versions of Windows.
Microsoft’s post does not mention whether WSL will eventually be available in the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 users who otherwise might not be eligible for updated WSL features. We have asked Microsoft about this and will provide an update if we receive a response.