How to Enable WSL2 on Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide to Get Started

Alright, eager to get Linux on your Windows 11 machine? Well, enabling Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) is just the ticket! By following a few straightforward steps, you’ll have a full-fledged Linux environment running on your Windows computer in no time. Let’s dive in and get you all set up.

How to Enable WSL2 on Windows 11

Today, we’re going to walk you through enabling WSL2 on your Windows 11 computer. This setup will let you run a Linux distribution alongside your Windows OS, granting you the best of both worlds. It’s like having your cake and eating it too!

Step 1: Open PowerShell as Administrator

First, you need to open PowerShell with administrative rights.

To do this, right-click the Start button, select "Windows Terminal (Admin)," and confirm any prompts that appear. You’ll know it worked if you see "Administrator" in the window’s title.

Step 2: Enable WSL Feature

Next, you need to enable the WSL feature.

Type the following command and press Enter: wsl --install. This command will install the necessary components for WSL. You might need to restart your computer afterward.

Step 3: Set WSL2 as the Default Version

Now, make WSL2 your default version.

Run this command: wsl --set-default-version 2. This ensures that any new Linux distributions you install will use WSL2 by default, which offers better performance than WSL1.

Step 4: Install a Linux Distribution

Next up, install a Linux distribution from the Microsoft Store.

Open the Microsoft Store, search for your preferred Linux distribution (like Ubuntu), and click “Install.” Wait for the installation to complete.

Step 5: Complete Setup in the Linux Distro

Lastly, complete the setup in your new Linux environment.

Open the newly installed Linux distribution and follow the on-screen prompts to set up your username and password. You’re now ready to use Linux on your Windows 11 machine!

After completing these steps, WSL2 will be enabled, and you’ll have a Linux distribution installed on your Windows 11 machine. You can now switch between Windows and Linux environments effortlessly.

Tips for Enabling WSL2 on Windows 11

  • Keep Windows Updated: Ensure your Windows 11 installation is up to date to avoid compatibility issues.
  • Choose the Right Distro: Different Linux distributions offer different features. Research which one suits your needs best.
  • Backup Important Data: Always back up your data before making system changes.
  • Use WSL2 for Better Performance: WSL2 offers better performance compared to WSL1, thanks to its full Linux kernel.
  • Explore Development Tools: Use WSL2 to explore powerful Linux development tools that might not be available on Windows.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will enabling WSL2 affect my existing software?

No, enabling WSL2 should not affect your existing software. It’s designed to run alongside your current Windows setup without causing interruptions.

Do I need to know Linux to use WSL2?

Not necessarily. While some basic Linux knowledge helps, WSL2 is beginner-friendly, and a lot of resources are available to help you get started.

Can I run graphical Linux applications with WSL2?

Yes, you can run graphical Linux applications on WSL2 using an X server. However, this might require additional setup.

How do I update WSL2?

You can update WSL2 by running wsl --update in PowerShell. Make sure you’re connected to the internet.

Is WSL2 secure?

Yes, WSL2 is secure. It runs isolated from your main Windows environment, making it a safe way to explore Linux.


  1. Open PowerShell as Administrator
  2. Enable WSL Feature
  3. Set WSL2 as the Default Version
  4. Install a Linux Distribution
  5. Complete Setup in the Linux Distro


Enabling WSL2 on Windows 11 is like opening a door to a new world of possibilities. You get the robustness of Linux combined with the familiarity of Windows. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily set up WSL2 and start exploring what Linux has to offer without leaving the comfort of your Windows environment.

Remember, WSL2 is not just for developers; it’s useful for anyone curious about Linux or looking to maximize their machine’s potential. Plus, you can always switch back to Windows with a click, making it perfect for trying new things without commitment.

So, why wait? Give it a shot and begin your journey into the powerful world of Linux with WSL2 on your Windows 11 machine. Happy computing!