How to Install Ubuntu on Windows WSL

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This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install and run Ubuntu Linux on Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2).

Back in 2017, Windows released Windows Subsystem for Linux that lets developers run a GNU/Linux environment, including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications directly in Windows without setting up a virtual machine or dual-boot.

WSL2 has since been released, and it’s an improvement over version 1. The new and improved version comes with performance boost, full system call compatibility, and built with a new architecture and that delivers features that make WSL an amazing way to run a Linux environment in Windows.

To install WSL 2 on Windows 10, these two requirements must be met:

  • Windows 10 May 2020 (2004), Windows 10 May 2019 (1903), or Windows 10 November 2019 (1909) or later
  • A computer with Hyper-V Virtualization support

Since you can now install Linux systems, including Ubuntu directly in Windows, let’s go ahead and install Ubuntu. Before you can do that, you must first enable WSL or WSL2 in Windows.

When you’re ready to enable WSL 2 on Windows 10, follow the steps below:

Enable WSL in Windows

To enable WSL in Windows, you will want to open PowerShell terminal as administrator. Click on Start then begin typing PowerShell.

Next, right-click Windows PowerShell app and choose to run as administrator.

powershell administrator

When the console opens, run the commands below:

dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux /all /norestart

After installing, you should get a success message similar to the lines below:

Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
Version: 10.0.19041.844

Image Version: 10.0.19042.844

Enabling feature(s)
[==========================100.0%==========================]
The operation completed successfully.

Enable Virtual Machine Platform

WSL 2 requires Windows 10 Virtual Machine Platform to be enabled. This is not Hyper-V. To enable the VM platform feature in Windows, run the commands below from the same PowerShell administrator’s console.

dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all /norestart

If you’re using Windows 10 version lower than 2004, then use the commands below:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName VirtualMachinePlatform -NoRestart

When you’re done running the commands above, restart your computer for all the configuration changes to apply. If you don’t restart, the below command might not be recognized.

After restarting your computer, login back in and launch PowerShell as administrator. Then run the commands below to configure WSL 2 as the default version of WSL.

wsl --set-default-version 2

If you get an error about not having Linux kernel installed, get it from the link below and run it in Windows, then try the command above again.

https://wslstorestorage.blob.core.windows.net/wslblob/wsl_update_x64.msi

windows subsystem for linux kernel install

Install Ubuntu in Windows 10

Now that WSL 2 is installed and ready to be used, open the link below to download and install a copy of Ubuntu 20.04 from Windows store.

Get Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – Microsoft Store

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on Windows allows you to use Ubuntu Terminal and run Ubuntu command line utilities including bash, ssh, git, apt and many more.

ubuntu windows wls install

Click the Get button and install. After installing Ubuntu, you’ll want the option to launch Ubuntu from Windows WSL environment.

After launching Ubuntu, it should install and prompt to create your account.

Installing, this may take a few minutes.
Please create a default UNIX user account. The username does not need to match your Windows username.
For more information visit: https://aka.ms/wslusers
Enter new UNIX username: richard
New password:
Retype new password:
passwd: password updated successfully
Installation successful!
To run a command as administrator (user "root"), use "sudo <command>".
See "man sudo_root" for details.

Welcome to Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.4.0-19041-Microsoft x86_64)

 * Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com
 * Management:     https://landscape.canonical.com
 * Support:        https://ubuntu.com/advantage

  System information as of Mon Apr 12 17:57:37 CDT 2021

  System load:    0.52      Processes:             7
  Usage of /home: unknown   Users logged in:       0
  Memory usage:   26%       IPv4 address for eth0: 10.0.2.15
  Swap usage:     0%

1 update can be installed immediately.
0 of these updates are security updates.
To see these additional updates run: apt list --upgradable

That should do it!

Some troubleshooting commands to run when you run into issues.

wsl --set-default-version 1
bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype auto start

Now simply launch Ubuntu from Windows start by searching for it. You can also pin it to the taskbar and always have it launch from there.

ubuntu on windows 10 app store

That should do it!

ubuntu launch from windows 10

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to install WSL 2 on Windows 10 and install Ubuntu 20.04. If you find any error above please use the comment form below to report.

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