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

Installing WSL in Windows 11 is a straightforward process that lets you run a Linux environment within your Windows system. You’ll need to enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux feature, install a preferred Linux distribution, and configure it. Follow these steps to get WSL up and running in no time.

How to Install WSL in Windows 11

By following these steps, you’ll enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux feature and install a Linux distribution on your Windows 11 machine.

Step 1: Open Windows Features

Open the Start Menu and search for “Turn Windows features on or off”.

When you select this option, a new window will pop up. Here, you can enable various Windows features, including WSL.

Step 2: Enable WSL

Check the box next to “Windows Subsystem for Linux” and click OK.

Your computer may take a few moments to process this request. Afterward, it will prompt you to restart to apply these changes.

Step 3: Restart Your Computer

Restart your computer to apply the changes.

This step is crucial for enabling the WSL feature. Make sure to save any work before restarting.

Step 4: Open Microsoft Store

Open the Microsoft Store and search for “Linux”.

The Microsoft Store offers various Linux distributions. Choose the one that fits your needs, such as Ubuntu, Debian, or Kali Linux.

Step 5: Install a Linux Distribution

Select your chosen Linux distribution and click the “Get” or “Install” button.

The installation process might take a few minutes, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

Step 6: Launch the Linux Distribution

After installation, open the Start Menu, find your Linux distribution, and launch it.

The first time you launch it, it will set up the environment and prompt you to create a username and password.

Step 7: Set Up Your Linux Environment

Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your new Linux environment.

You’ll need to create a new user account and set a password. This completes the setup process.

After completing these steps, you will have WSL installed and a Linux distribution running on your Windows 11 system. You can now use Linux commands and tools directly from your Windows machine.

Tips for Installing WSL in Windows 11

  • Ensure your Windows 11 is up-to-date to avoid compatibility issues.
  • Choose a Linux distribution that suits your needs. Ubuntu is a popular choice for beginners.
  • Allocate sufficient disk space for your Linux environment.
  • Use Windows Terminal for a more integrated experience.
  • Keep your Linux environment updated for the latest features and security patches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install multiple Linux distributions with WSL?

Yes, you can install multiple distributions and switch between them as needed.

Is WSL suitable for development work?

Absolutely, WSL is great for developers who need a Linux environment within Windows.

How do I update my Linux distribution in WSL?

You can update your distribution by using the package manager command for your specific Linux distribution (e.g., sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade for Ubuntu).

Can I use graphical Linux applications in WSL?

Yes, WSL supports graphical Linux applications, but you may need to install additional components.

Is WSL free to use?

Yes, WSL and the Linux distributions available in the Microsoft Store are free to use.


  1. Open Windows Features.
  2. Enable WSL.
  3. Restart Your Computer.
  4. Open Microsoft Store.
  5. Install a Linux Distribution.
  6. Launch the Linux Distribution.
  7. Set Up Your Linux Environment.


Installing WSL in Windows 11 is like getting the best of both worlds—Windows and Linux—without having to dual boot or use a virtual machine. This guide has walked you through the steps to enable WSL and install a Linux distribution, making it a breeze to integrate Linux into your daily workflow.

With WSL, you can run Linux tools, scripts, and applications directly from your Windows machine. This is particularly useful for developers, system administrators, and anyone who needs the flexibility and power of Linux alongside the familiarity of Windows.

If you found this guide helpful, consider exploring more advanced WSL features, such as setting up Docker, configuring SSH, or using Windows Terminal for a more seamless experience. Happy coding!

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