WSL – Windows Subsystem for Linux

By Ross Madden
Published on October 14, 2022 9:43 am MT
Posted in Tips and Tricks

What is Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)?

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a feature of the Windows operating system that enables you to run a Linux file system, along with Linux command-line tools and GUI apps, directly on Windows, alongside your traditional Windows desktop and apps.

Who is WSL for?

This is primarily a tool for developers, especially web developers, those working on open source projects, or deploying to Linux server environments. WSL is for anyone who likes using Bash, common Linux tools (sedawk, etc.) and Linux-first frameworks (Ruby, Python, etc.) but also enjoys using Windows productivity tools

What can I do with WSL?

WSL enables you to run Linux in a Bash shell with your choice of distribution (Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, Kali, Alpine, etc). Using Bash, you can run command-line Linux tools and apps. For example, type lsb_release -a and hit enter; you’ll see details of the Linux distro currently running:

You can also access your local machine’s file system from within the Linux Bash shell – you’ll find your local drives mounted under the /mnt folder. For example, your C: drive is mounted under /mnt/c:

Citation and additional information:

How to Enable WSL

The first step for using WSL is to enable the proper feature in Windows. To do so, you can follow these directions:

Now What?

From here you will need to install a Linux distribution. By far the easiest I have found is through Ubuntu which makes its distribution available to WSL users through the Microsoft Store for free. Check out this link with detailed instructions:

Back to top of page