How to Install WSL2 on Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How to Install WSL2 on Windows 11

Installing WSL2 on Windows 11 is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance your development workflow by bringing a Linux environment to your Windows machine. First, enable the WSL feature via PowerShell, then install a Linux distribution from the Microsoft Store. Finally, set WSL2 as your default version and you’re good to go. Follow these steps, and you’ll be running Linux commands on Windows in no time.

How to Install WSL2 on Windows 11

In this guide, you’ll learn to set up the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) on your Windows 11 machine. This will allow you to run a full-fledged Linux kernel right alongside your Windows operating system.

Step 1: Enable WSL

First, open PowerShell as an administrator and run the command wsl --install.

This command enables the Windows Subsystem for Linux, downloads the necessary components, and sets WSL2 as the default version. PowerShell should prompt you to restart your system once the installation is complete.

Step 2: Restart Your Computer

Restart your computer to apply the changes made by the WSL installation process.

After restarting, the WSL feature will be functional, and you can proceed to install your preferred Linux distribution.

Step 3: Install a Linux Distribution

Open the Microsoft Store, search for your desired Linux distribution (such as Ubuntu), and click "Install."

The Microsoft Store offers various Linux distributions. After clicking "Install," the store will download and install the distribution on your machine. Once the installation is complete, you’ll be able to launch the Linux terminal from the Start menu.

Step 4: Set WSL2 as Default

In PowerShell, run wsl --set-default-version 2 to set WSL2 as the default.

This ensures that any future Linux distributions you install will use WSL2. This command is crucial for taking advantage of the performance improvements and full Linux kernel that WSL2 offers.

Step 5: Launch Your Linux Distribution

Find your installed Linux distribution in the Start menu, click to launch it, and complete the initial setup.

Upon first launch, you’ll be prompted to create a username and password for your Linux environment. Once this is done, you can start using Linux commands directly within Windows.

After completing these actions, you’ll have a fully functional Linux environment running on your Windows 11 machine. You can now use Linux tools and applications as if you were on a native Linux system.

Tips for Installing WSL2 on Windows 11

  • Make sure your Windows 11 installation is up to date before starting the WSL2 installation process.
  • If you encounter issues, check that your hardware virtualization is enabled in the BIOS.
  • Familiarize yourself with basic Linux commands before diving in; it’ll make the transition smoother.
  • You can switch between different installed Linux distributions using the wsl --list --verbose and wsl --set-version commands.
  • Use the Windows Terminal app for a more integrated and customizable terminal experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be an admin to install WSL2?

Yes, you need administrative privileges to enable the WSL feature and install the necessary components.

Can I run graphical Linux applications with WSL2?

Yes, WSL2 supports GUI applications, but you may need additional setup for optimal performance.

Is it possible to have multiple Linux distributions installed?

Absolutely. You can install multiple distributions from the Microsoft Store and switch between them as needed.

How do I update my Linux distribution?

You can use the package manager for your specific Linux distribution. For example, run sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade for Ubuntu.

What if I encounter errors during installation?

Check online resources or the official Microsoft documentation for troubleshooting steps. Often, enabling virtualization in BIOS or ensuring your system is up to date will resolve issues.


  1. Enable WSL: wsl --install
  2. Restart your computer
  3. Install a Linux Distribution from the Microsoft Store
  4. Set WSL2 as default: wsl --set-default-version 2
  5. Launch your Linux Distribution and complete the initial setup


Installing WSL2 on Windows 11 can open up a world of possibilities for developers and power users. With WSL2, you get the best of both worlds—seamless access to Linux tools and applications while still working within the familiar Windows environment. This guide has walked you through each step, ensuring you can effortlessly set up WSL2 and start exploring its benefits.

For those looking to deepen their understanding, consider exploring additional resources on Linux commands and Windows integration. Whether you’re dabbling in development or require a robust environment for your projects, WSL2 offers unmatched flexibility and performance enhancements.

So, what are you waiting for? Dive in and start using the powerful combination of Windows 11 and WSL2 today.