Being able to install WSL with a single command, an option that Microsoft is already testing in Windows Insider

In one of the latest updates to Windows 10 (specifically, Insider Preview 20246) for Insider program participants, Microsoft has greatly simplified the installation process of the Windows subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Thus, once this functionality reaches the stable version of Windows, all we will need to install both the subsystem itself and the Linux distribution that we choose will be type a single command.

The official procedure still in force for installing WSL involves performing seven steps They go through enabling certain features of the operating system, downloading the Linux kernel update package and installing the Linux distribution of our choice.

From now on, however, the law of least effort will prevail: something that will be appreciated by system administrators, who will see the time required to install WSL reduced, to the most inexperienced users who are trying their luck in Linux for the first time.

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The commands you need to know

But what is that single command that will save us so much time? Well, to install WSL it will be enough with open a PowerShell terminal with administrator privileges, and write the following:

wsl --install


And it would be. But then at what point do we specify which Linux distribution we want to install? Well by default that command would install Ubuntu: to choose another distribution we must use the '-d' switch. So, to install Debian, we will write

wsl --install -d Debian

To know the list of available distributions as of today, and their corresponding identifiers, we must write

wsl --list --online


Be careful, because currently not all Linux distributions available on the Windows Store are supported with the new command format. For now, executing the previous command will give us a list like the following:

  • Ubuntu

  • Debian

  • Kali-linux

  • openSUSE-42

  • SLES-12

  • Ubuntu-16.04

  • Ubuntu-18.04

  • Ubuntu-20.04

Via | Microsoft