How to Install WSL in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

If you’re looking to run Linux commands directly on your Windows 11 machine, you’re in luck! Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) allows you to do just that. By following a few simple steps, you can install WSL and start using Linux without leaving Windows. Let’s get started!

Installing WSL on Windows 11

In this tutorial, I’ll guide you through the steps to install WSL on your Windows 11 computer. This will allow you to run a full-fledged Linux environment without the need for a virtual machine.

Step 1: Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator

First, press the Start button and type "PowerShell". Right-click "Windows PowerShell" and select "Run as administrator".

Running PowerShell as an administrator is crucial because it gives you the required permissions to make system changes. If you skip this, you’ll likely encounter permission errors.

Step 2: Install WSL

Next, type the following command and press Enter:

wsl --install

This command will download and install the latest version of WSL along with a default Linux distribution. It could take several minutes, so be patient.

Step 3: Restart Your Computer

After installation, you’ll be prompted to restart your computer. Go ahead and restart.

Restarting is necessary to finalize the installation. Your system needs to reboot for changes to take effect, so don’t skip this step.

Step 4: Set Up Your Linux Distribution

Once your computer restarts, WSL will automatically set up the default Linux distribution. You’ll be prompted to create a username and password.

This setup process initializes your Linux environment. The username and password you create will be used for administrative tasks within your Linux subsystem.

Step 5: Update Your Linux Distribution

Open your newly installed Linux terminal and type:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Then press Enter.

Updating your Linux distribution ensures you have the latest software and security patches. It’s a good practice to run these commands regularly.

What Happens Next

After completing these steps, you’ll have a fully functional Linux environment on your Windows 11 machine. You can now run Linux commands, install additional software, and even develop Linux-based apps directly from Windows.

Tips for Installing WSL on Windows 11

  • Always keep your WSL and Linux distribution updated to get the latest features and security patches.
  • You can install multiple Linux distributions by visiting the Microsoft Store and searching for your preferred distro.
  • Use the wsl --list --verbose command to see all installed Linux distributions and their versions.
  • Run wsl --set-version 2 to ensure you are using WSL 2, which offers improved performance over WSL 1.
  • Enable Virtual Machine Platform through Windows Features if you encounter issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is WSL?

WSL stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux. It allows you to run a Linux environment directly on Windows without a virtual machine.

Is WSL free?

Yes, WSL is a free feature included in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Can I run graphical Linux applications on WSL?

Yes, with WSL 2, you can run graphical Linux applications using a display server like X Server.

How do I uninstall WSL?

To uninstall WSL, go to "Apps & features" in Windows Settings, find the Linux distribution, and click "Uninstall".

Is WSL 1 or WSL 2 better?

WSL 2 is generally recommended because it offers better performance and compatibility with Linux applications.


  1. Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator
  2. Install WSL
  3. Restart Your Computer
  4. Set Up Your Linux Distribution
  5. Update Your Linux Distribution


Installing WSL on Windows 11 opens up a whole new world of possibilities, letting you enjoy the best of both Windows and Linux. Whether you’re a developer looking to run Linux tools or just curious about exploring Linux, WSL makes it incredibly easy. The steps to install WSL are simple and straightforward, meaning you can get up and running in no time.

If you’re eager to dive deeper, consider exploring advanced topics like setting up Docker on WSL, using VS Code with WSL, or even running entire development environments. The flexibility is truly remarkable. So why wait? Install WSL on your Windows 11 machine today and start exploring the endless possibilities of combining Linux and Windows.