The Windows Subsystem for Linux, or WSL, is an optional feature of Windows 10 that allows Linux programs to run natively on Windows. WSL was designed by Microsoft in partnership with Canonical, the creators of Ubuntu. Together, they created a kernel compatibility layer based on Ubuntu. This compatibility layer allows Linux programs to run in a Windows 10 version of the Bash shell.

What can WSL be used for?
WSL gives Windows users access to powerful core programs available in Linux including GNU tools such as find, awk, sed, and grep, which can locate, search, and modify the contents of files.

Not all Linux programs can be used in WSL. Some low-level system tools, for example, require an actual Linux kernel to run correctly. Also, WSL is not intended to run GUI applications. Although it's possible to install the X11 window system under WSL, graphical programs are not guaranteed to work correctly, if at all.

However, WSL comes with the software package tools apt and dpkg, which provides access to a thousands of command-line Linux applications. They can operate side-by-side with traditional Windows applications, with native access to the Windows filesystem. In essence, WSL makes Linux tools a part of Windows.

WSL requires a 64-bit version of Windows 10, with the Anniversary Update (released on August 2, 2016) or later installed.

How to install WSL
To install the Windows Subsystem for Linux, open a PowerShell window as Administrator.

At the PowerShell prompt, run:

You will be prompted to reboot the computer. Type Y and press Enter.

After the computer reboots, open a new command prompt window.

At the command prompt, run bash to complete the installation.

Now you need to install your Linux distro of choice.

Install your Linux Distribution of Choice
To download and install your preferred distro(s), you have three choices:

• Download and install from the Microsoft Store.
• Download and install from the Command-Line/Script.
• Download and manually unpack and install.

Option 1. Microsoft Store
Distro(s) availables to this day (2019-11-13) in Microsoft Store:

• Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
• Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
• OpenSUSE Leap 15
• OpenSUSE Leap 42
• SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12
• SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15
• Kali Linux
• Debian GNU/Linux
• Fedora Remix for WSL
• Pengwin
• Pengwin Enterprise
• Alpine WSL

Open the Microsoft Store and choose your favorite Linux distribution.

Microsoft Store

From the distro's page, select "Get"

Ubuntu Store

After the distro is installed, launch it to complete the installation.

Option 2 and 3. Download through Command-Line/Script and Install
If the Microsoft Store app is not available, you can download and manually install Linux distros by clicking
these links or using the command line with these links:

Ubuntu 18.04
Ubuntu 18.04 ARM
Ubuntu 16.04
Debian GNU/Linux
Kali Linux
OpenSUSE Leap 42
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12
Fedora Remix for WSL

This will cause the .appx packages to download to a folder of your choosing. Follow the installation instructions to install your downloaded distro(s).

If you prefer, you can also download your preferred distro(s) via the command line:

Download using PowerShell

To download distros using PowerShell, use the Invoke-WebRequest cmdlet.

Here's a sample instruction to download Ubuntu 16.04.

Download using curl

Windows 10 Spring 2018 Update (or later) includes the popular curl command-line utility with which you can invoke web requests (i.e. HTTP GET, POST, PUT, etc. commands) from the command line. You can use curl.exe to download the above distros:

In the above example, curl.exe is executed (not just curl) to ensure that, in PowerShell, the real curl executable is invoked, not the PowerShell curl alias for Invoke-WebRequest.

Installing your distro

If you're using Windows 10 you can install your distro with PowerShell. Simply navigate to folder containing the distro downloaded from above, and in that directory run the following command where app_name is the name of your distro .appx file.

Feel free to email me and make any suggestions.