How to Run Linux on Windows 11: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

How to Run Linux on Windows 11

Running Linux on Windows 11 is easier than you might think. You can achieve this by using Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). First, you’ll need to enable WSL on your Windows 11 machine. After that, you can install a Linux distribution of your choice from the Microsoft Store. Finally, you’ll set up and launch your Linux environment.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Run Linux on Windows 11

In this tutorial, you will learn how to enable and set up Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on your Windows 11 machine. By the end, you’ll have a fully functional Linux environment running on Windows.

Step 1: Enable WSL

First, you need to enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux feature.

Open the Start menu, type "Turn Windows features on or off," and select it. In the window that pops up, check the box for "Windows Subsystem for Linux" and click OK. Finally, restart your computer to apply the changes.

Step 2: Install WSL 2

Next, you should install WSL 2, the latest version of WSL.

Open PowerShell as an administrator. Type wsl --install and press Enter. This command will install WSL 2 and set it as your default version. It may take a few minutes, and you might need to restart your computer again.

Step 3: Install a Linux Distribution

Now, you need to choose and install a Linux distribution.

Open the Microsoft Store and search for "Linux". You’ll see a list of available distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, and more. Choose the one you prefer, click "Get" to download and install it.

Step 4: Set Up Your Linux Environment

After installation, you’ll need to set up your Linux environment.

Open the Start menu, type the name of your installed Linux distribution, and launch it. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your username and password. This process will complete the installation.

Step 5: Launch Your Linux Environment

Finally, start using your Linux environment.

You can open your Linux distribution from the Start menu anytime. You now have a fully functional Linux shell within Windows 11, ready for you to use.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a Linux terminal running within your Windows 11 environment. You can use it to run Linux commands, scripts, and even develop software.

Tips for Running Linux on Windows 11

  • Keep WSL Updated: Make sure to regularly update WSL to get the latest features and improvements.
  • Use WSL 2: WSL 2 is more powerful and offers better performance than WSL 1.
  • Install Additional Tools: You can install additional tools and software using your Linux distribution’s package manager (like apt for Ubuntu).
  • Access Windows Files: You can access your Windows files from within your Linux environment by navigating to the /mnt/c/ directory.
  • Backup Your Data: Regularly back up your Linux environment to avoid losing important data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I run a graphical user interface (GUI) on WSL?

Yes, you can run a GUI on WSL 2 by installing an X server on Windows and configuring your Linux environment to use it.

Is WSL 2 better than WSL 1?

Yes, WSL 2 offers improved performance, better compatibility, and runs a real Linux kernel.

Can I use WSL for software development?

Absolutely, WSL is great for software development, providing a versatile environment for coding and testing.

How much disk space do I need for WSL?

The disk space required depends on the Linux distribution and any additional software you install. Typically, you should have at least 15-20 GB free.

Can I run multiple Linux distributions on WSL?

Yes, you can install and run multiple distributions side by side on WSL.


  1. Enable WSL.
  2. Install WSL 2.
  3. Install a Linux distribution.
  4. Set up your Linux environment.
  5. Launch your Linux environment.


Running Linux on Windows 11 using WSL is straightforward and powerful. By following the steps outlined, you can enjoy the benefits of both operating systems without hassle. Whether you’re a developer looking for a versatile coding environment or just curious about Linux, WSL provides an excellent platform to get started.

For further reading, you might explore advanced WSL configurations or how to run Linux GUI apps. Embrace the best of both worlds by mastering how to run Linux on Windows 11. Dive in, experiment, and see how this powerful combination can boost your productivity and broaden your technical skills.