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

How to Install WSL on Windows 11

Installing Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 11 is quite simple. In just a few steps, you can run a Linux environment directly on your Windows machine. You’ll need to enable the WSL feature, download a Linux distro from the Microsoft Store, and set it up. Let’s get started.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Install WSL on Windows 11

This section will guide you through the process of installing WSL on Windows 11. By the end, you’ll have a fully operational Linux environment running within Windows.

Step 1: Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator

Open the Start menu, type PowerShell, right-click on Windows PowerShell, and select "Run as administrator."

Running PowerShell as an administrator is crucial because you need elevated privileges to enable WSL. If you don’t have administrative rights, you won’t be able to proceed.

Step 2: Enable WSL Feature

Type wsl --install into the PowerShell window and press Enter.

This command will enable the WSL feature, install the necessary components, and download the latest Linux kernel. This might take a few minutes, so be patient.

Step 3: Restart Your Computer

After enabling WSL, you’ll need to restart your computer when prompted.

Restarting ensures that all changes take effect. Sometimes, skipping this step can cause issues with the installation of the Linux distribution.

Step 4: Install a Linux Distribution

Open the Microsoft Store, search for your preferred Linux distribution (like Ubuntu), and click Install.

The Microsoft Store offers several Linux distributions. Choose one that suits your needs. Installation is straightforward—just like installing any other app from the store.

Step 5: Launch the Linux Distribution

Once installed, open your chosen Linux distribution from the Start menu.

On the first launch, you might need to wait a few minutes for the distribution to set up. You’ll also be prompted to create a user name and password.

Step 6: Update Your Linux Distribution

Open the Linux terminal and type sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade to update your distro.

Updating ensures you have the latest packages and security patches. It’s a good practice to keep your system up-to-date.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a Linux environment up and running on your Windows 11 machine. You can start using Linux commands, installing software, and much more.

Tips for Installing WSL on Windows 11

  • Make sure your Windows is updated to the latest version before enabling WSL.
  • Use wsl --list --online to see available Linux distributions before choosing one.
  • If you run into any issues, try running wsl --update in PowerShell.
  • Use wsl --set-default-version 2 to set WSL 2 as your default version for better performance.
  • Remember to periodically update your Linux distribution to keep it secure and efficient.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is WSL?

WSL stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux, a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables natively on Windows.

Is WSL free?

Yes, WSL is a free feature available for Windows 10 and Windows 11 users.

Can I run GUI applications on WSL?

With WSL 2 and Windows 11, you can run Linux GUI applications seamlessly.

How much disk space is required for WSL?

The disk space required depends on the Linux distribution you choose, but it’s generally a few gigabytes.

Do I need to install VirtualBox or VMware to use WSL?

No, WSL does not require any additional virtualization software to run Linux on Windows.


  1. Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator
  2. Enable WSL Feature
  3. Restart Your Computer
  4. Install a Linux Distribution
  5. Launch the Linux Distribution
  6. Update Your Linux Distribution


Installing WSL on Windows 11 opens up a world of possibilities for developers, students, and hobbyists alike. It merges the best of both worlds by allowing you to enjoy Linux’s robust environment within Windows’ familiar interface. By following these straightforward steps, you’re now equipped with a powerful tool that can enhance your productivity and expand your technical horizons.

For further reading, you might consider diving into specific Linux distributions and their unique features. Also, explore the commands and capabilities that WSL 2 offers. Don’t forget to join online forums and communities to share your experiences and learn from others. Happy coding!