Microsoft brings good news for Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL) users on Windows 11. As per a blog post on Microsoft’s website, a preview of the Windows Subsystem for Linux is now available on the Microsoft Store. Notably, “Preview” doesn’t mean that it’s a new version of WSL; it’s the old WSL2 arriving with new ways of installation.
Now that WSL is available on the Microsoft Store, it allows users to install and receive updates and new features for WSL2 from the Store itself. Microsoft gives importance to the apps that deserve it – as they did to Microsoft Edge. WSL is readily available on Windows 11, and you can enable and use it.
A new beginning for WSL
“This change moves those binaries from being part of the Windows image, to instead being part of an application that you install from the Store. This decouples WSL from your Windows version, allowing you to update through the Microsoft Store instead. So now once new features like GUI app support, GPU compute, and Linux file system drive mounting are developed, tested and ready for a release you will get access to it right away on your machine without needing to update your entire Windows OS, or going to Windows Insider preview builds.”
Earlier, WSL was installed as an optional feature inside of Windows. Hence, users had to visit the “Turn Windows Features on or off” window and enable WSL from there. To clarify, it was a feature integrated with the native Windows binaries rather than an application you could install. Now that WSL is no longer a core part of Windows, users can receive updates and new features much quicker.
Moreover, the new WSL preview already includes new features such as a recent Linux kernel and support for GUI apps. The addition of WSLg enables running Linux GUI applications inside WSL. Microsoft answered some questions in its blog post and confirmed that WSL 1 distros wouldn’t work with the new preview version. However, you can use the older WSL integration as well as the latest preview simultaneously.
You can try the new Windows Subsystem For Linux Preview from the Microsoft Store right away if you want.