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How you can Fire Up The New Windows Subsystem For Linux In Windows 11 – Guide
Microsoft announced Windows 11 on June 24th. The software giant later released the operating system to members of the Windows Insider program, and currently it can be tested by those subscribed to the Dev and Beta channels. While many welcomed the new user interface changes, some were still skeptical of the many inconsistencies that continue to plague Windows in general.
an interesting feature Windows 11, however, is the Windows Advanced Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which can now handle graphics and audio natively. In this article, we take a look at what’s new in WSL in Windows 11 and how to start.
What is the Windows for Linux subsystem?
Most of the time, developers switch between the familiar Windows interface and the ease of command-line-based development tool chains in Linux. Furthermore, those who deal with large amounts of data will find a good number of open source tools developed natively for Linux. The Windows Subsystem for Linux, or WSL for short, allows developers to continue using Windows as their primary operating system, while also giving access to native Linux binaries.
Users therefore don’t have to worry about the overhead of emulating running virtual machines or the hassle of configuration up a dual-boot installation. Although Cygwin provides a POSIX compatibility layer for executing Unix-like commands, it does require collection of those commands and as such has limited applicability. With WSL, Windows users can directly invoke the Linux shell like any other program and run native Linux binaries.
Starting with Windows 10 1903, Microsoft introduced a new version of WSL called WSL 2 that offers tighter integration with the Windows file system, faster boot times, faster disk reads, and a fully functional Linux kernel. . Now with Windows 11, Microsoft is adding graphical user interface and real-time audio support.
WSL Installation on Windows 11
Installing the Windows subsystem for Linux requires some prerequisites. Since WSL 2 uses a real virtual machine, its CPU must support virtualization. Although this shouldn’t be an issue with most modern Intel and AMD CPUs that power desktops and laptops, this feature is usually disabled in the computer’s BIOS / UEFI.
Boot into your PC’s BIOS / UEFI interface (usually this involves pressing the DEL or F2 key during bootup – see your computer user guide For more informations). Once inside the BIOS, look for Intel Virtualization Technology or AMD Secure Virtual Machine (also referred to as SVM) depending on your CPU and enable it. Save your changes and restart your PC.
Upgrade from WSL 1 to WSL 2
Unless you are upgrading from a previous version of Windows with WSL 1, WSL 2 is used by default on all recent versions of Windows 10 (1903 and higher) and Windows 11. Using the new GUI, audio and file system requires a mandatory upgrade to WSL 2.
Follow the steps mentioned below to perform an in-place upgrade from WSL 1 to WSL 2:
1. Type the following at an elevated command prompt, Windows Terminal, or PowerShell.
wsl -set-version 2
2. Be sure to enter the exact name of the distribution. If in doubt, write:
wsl -l -v
3. This command lists the installed Linux distributions, their current status and the WSL version they are using. Use the name that appears here in the command above to convert a WSL 1 instance to WSL 2.
Enabling WSL on Windows 11
If this is your first time using WSL on Windows 11, you will automatically be offered a WSL 2 environment. All you need to do is make sure that CPU virtualization is enabled in the BIOS and that WSL features are installed in your environment. .
To enable WSL, click on the Start button button.
Type “Turn Windows On or Off features”And in the dialog, activate Windows subsystem for Linux, Windows hypervisor platform and virtual machine platform.
Click OK and restart your PC.
The best part of WSL 2 is that most of the kernel level functions are provided directly by Windows Update. Your PC may automatically offer the WSL 2 kernel update. Otherwise, go to the Settings application, click Windows Update and click Check for updates to download the latest kernel that enables WSLg (short for WSL GUI) functionality. .
At this point, keep in mind that you must have the latest graphics drivers from Intel, NVIDIA or AMD, depending on your primary GPU adapter, for full GPU acceleration. You can use beta drivers for your corresponding GPU or just install the latest public versions. Now that the prerequisites have been met, you are ready to install a Linux distribution on your Windows 11 machine.
Installing a Linux distribution on WSL 2 on Windows 11
The easiest way to get Linux up and running on Windows 11 is simply going to the Microsoft Store and looking for a distribution of your choice. Options currently available include Ubuntu (16.04, 18.04 and 20.04), Kali Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, openSUSE leap, Fedora Remix for WSL and Debian.
While the Microsoft Store allows for easy download and installation of these distributions, your options are currently limited. However, with WSL 2, you can create and download your own distribution by getting the corresponding .tar file. For this article, we’ll be using Ubuntu as it’s very popular and there are great resources available online if you get stuck on a particular command or operation.
Some organizations or teams associated with the domain may have limited access to the Microsoft Store. In such cases, you can download installation packages directly from Microsoft. Follow the steps below to install the distribution:
1. You can either double click the installer or use the following PowerShell command from the installer folder.
2. Once the distribution of your choice is installed, it should instantly appear in the Start menu.
3. Just click on the icon to launch an instance of Ubuntu installation.
4. After a few seconds, you will be asked to create a user account and password. If for some reason the installer does not ask for a user account or password, it will launch you directly as root.
Remember that operating with root privileges is bad security practice. There is no root password assigned by default, which makes it even more vulnerable. It’s always useful to first assign a root password and then create a normal user account. This is how you can do it:
1. To assign a new root password, use the command:
sudo passwd root
2. Then enter and confirm the new root password. Be sure to write it down safely. To create a normal user account, which can then be used for root access when needed, enter:
3. Ubuntu will ask you to enter and confirm your password along with other information such as your full name and phone number (optional).
4. This creates your / home and displays your username with a $ sign at the bash shell prompt.
Ubuntu’s WSL 2 instance is now ready to use.
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