Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL) App Download Link And Install [2021]

Here download and install Windows Subsystem for Linux to get the official WSL application from Microsoft on Windows 11 computers. A preview of Windows Subsystem for Linus (WSL) as a standalone app available exclusively for Windows 11 devices via Microsoft Store. The WSL app means the service is no longer linked to the Windows version. And so this separate app makes it possible to receive updates with the latest WSL features and other performance improvements on a regular basis.

To clarify the change, the company explains in a statement that “this is the exact same WSL that you know and love, all that we’ve changed is where it gets installed and updated from.” Once the preview testing phase is over, everyone can download WSL for Windows 11 right away.

windows subsystem for linux app download and install

WSL For Windows 11 Main Features:

In its blog post today, Microsoft writes that “traditionally, WSL has been installed as an optional component inside of Windows”. Adding further, “This means that you would go to the ‘Turn Windows Features on or off’ dialogue to enable it, requiring you to restart your machine. The actual binaries that makeup WSL’s logic in that optional component are part of the Windows image and are serviced and updated as part of Windows itself.”

This change moves those binaries from being part of the Windows image, to instead being part of an application that you install from the Store. This decouples WSL from your Windows version, allowing you to update through the Microsoft Store instead. So now once new features like GUI app support, GPU compute, and Linux file system drive mounting are developed, tested and ready for a release you will get access to it right away on your machine without needing to update your entire Windows OS, or going to Windows Insider preview builds.

With most of the functionalities remain the same, here are some of the new features that are part of this Preview release:

  • WSLg is now bundled as part of the WSL app!
  • New wsl.exe --mount features!
    • Add --mount --vhd to make mounting VHD files easier.
    • Implement filesystem detection for wsl --mount. This change implements filesystem type detection if no --type is specified when using wsl.exe --mount.
    • Add --name feature to wsl --mount. This change adds support for optionally naming a mountpoint when mounting a disk through WSL.
  • Updated Linux kernel to 5.10.60.1
  • Added progress indicator helper function used to show a Please Wait message with animated dots on the conversion process to show users that WSL is still running.
  • Switched wsl --install to not require the --distribution argument. This change switches wsl --install to not require the --distribution argument but maintains support to avoid breaking existing scripts.
  • Added wsl.exe --version command which displays relevant version information.

How To Install Windows Subsystem For Linux On Windows 11:

Before you begin to install and run WSL for Windows through Microsoft Store, ensure that your device is running Windows 11 build 22000 or higher. Furthermore, make sure to enable the Virtual Machine Platform optional component prior to installation, if it’s disabled.

Run: dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all in an elevated PowerShell prompt

To download WSL, head over to this page and install it. Once done, install any Linus distro you prefer to start using it.

Currently, Microsoft allows you to use both the built-in Windows version of WSL and the WSL for Windows 11 app simultaneously. According to the company “WSL store version will always take precedence, so when it’s installed on your machine then that’s the version of WSL that you’ll be interacting with.”

How To Uninstall WSL For Windows 11 From The Microsoft Store:

If the new WSL app for Windows is not to your liking and want to go back to using the native version designed for Windows operating system, follow these simple steps, below:

  1. Click on the Start menu.
  2. Search “Windows Subsystem for Linus”.
  3. Right-click on the application’s icon and hit the Uninstall button to delete the Microsoft Store version.
  4. Make sure that the “Windows Subsystem for Linux” optional component is enabled, see the instructions here for more details.
  5. That’s it.

For a complete rundown and additional information, check this blog post with FAQs.

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