How to Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux

Tips

If you want to run a Linux terminal on Windows, it’s easier to use the Windows Subsystem for Linux. It’s pretty easy to set up, and within no time, you’ll be executing commands. But first, you need to enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

This article will show you how to enable Windows Subsystem for Linux, a gateway opener that allows you to install a Linux bash shell on Windows. You don’t need a virtual machine, let alone dual booting, which can be tough for beginners.

Requirements for Running Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 10

Before detailing how to enable Windows Subsystem for Linux, you should beware of the minimum requirements.

According to Microsoft, you should be running:

  • Windows 10 (64-bit) version 2004 and higher with Build 19041 (or higher) or,
  • Windows 11.

Here’s how to check what version of Windows 10 you have installed.

Some older Windows 10 versions can also work, but that means you’ll have to embrace the manual install route for WSL.

How to Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux

If you’re facing problems installing Linux bash shell on Windows 10, one of the issues might be you’ve not enabled Windows Subsystem for Linux. If that’s the case, you’ll bump into an error: “The Windows Subsystem for Linux optional component is not enabled. Please enable it and try again.”

Here’s how to enable Windows Subsystem for Linux component in Windows 10:

  1. Open Windows 10 Settings app.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Click Programs and Features under the Related settings section on the right.

    Programs and Features option under the Related settings section

  4. Under the Programs and Features page, click Turn Windows features on or off on the left panel.
  5. Scroll down and enable Windows Subsystem for Linux.

    Windows Subsystem for Linux option in Windows Features page

  6. Click OK to save your changes.
  7. Hit Restart now to finish the process.

Next, you need to install Windows Subsystem for Linux. After that, you can install any supported Linux distro right inside your Windows PC.

Furthermore, you can also install a Linux desktop in Windows that gives you a graphical UI to work with.

Install Linux Distros on Windows the Right Way

For a smooth experience when installing Linux in Windows 10, enable Windows Subsystem for Linux first. It doesn’t take much of your time and will save you from errors during the installation.


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