Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a compatibility layer for running Linux executable binaries (ELF format) natively on Windows 10, Windows 11, and Windows Server 2019. In May 2019, WSL2 was announced. It introduces major changes like a true Linux kernel through a subset of Hyper-V features. As of June 2019, WSL2 is only available to Windows 10 customers, including Home editions, through the Windows Insider Program. Not every Windows 10 user has WSL available by default. You can install it by joining the Windows Insider Program or by installing it manually on your Windows Server 2019.

WSL 1’s design does not include hardware emulation/virtualization (unlike other projects like coLinux). For example, a web server can be accessed through the same interface and IP address configured on the host and has the same restrictions on using ports that require administrative privileges or are already occupied by other applications. There are certain locations (e.g. system folders) and configurations that are restricted to access/modify even when running as root with sudo from a shell. To give “sudo” true root privileges and allow such access, you need to start an elevated instance.

Installing WSL Feature On Windows Server 2019

In order to install Linux Distro, you have to enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) feature from Windows Server Manager or PowerShell.

Browse to Windows Server Manager/Add roles and features, in the featurre window install the WSL option and reboot the server.

Server Manager WSL

Or Open the Windows PowerShell and enter the given command to enable this feature via CLI. As I have already installed the WSL feature the PowerShell will give output for given command as, Online:True.

# Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

WSL Powershell

Installing Virtual Machine Platform Feature

Virtual Machine Platform is a non-powerful version of HyperV, but it still allows you to use your hypervisor. VMP is a requirement of WSL1&2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux) and is very good. This is used to create his MSIX application package for App-V or MSI. Type in the given command in PowerShell as an Administrator to install VMP and restart the server if the output prompts.

# dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all /norestart


Installing Linux Kernel Update Package

Windows Subsystem for Linux Kernel Update Package contains Linux Kernel Update Package to upgrade Windows 64-bit to WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), so you can install Linux onWindows server. Use the given link to download the Linux Kernel Update Package and install it. Restart the server.
WSL Kernel

Installing The Linux Distribution of your choice

There are several ways to install the WSL Linux distro from the Microsoft Store. This guide uses the PowerShell approach to download and install WSL. Launch PowerShell and type in the given command to list available distros. This is a sample guide for downloading Ubuntu 20.04.

# wsl –list –online


Now type in the given command to install Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. This will take some time depending on your network connection. This will install the Ubuntu distro and create a shortcut in the start menu with the Distro name.

# wsl –install -d Ubuntu 20.04 LTS


That’s it Windows Subsystem For Linux is installed. Click on the given app icon to access the Distro and set up the username and password. These are the two GUI apps that I have opened in my WSL. You can open them too.



WSL can help organizations achieve seamless integration with their WSL deployments. Contact us to learn more about how Windows Subsystem for Linux can support your business. What you never thought is now possible on Windows.

Editors: Run your choice of Linux text editors, including vim, emacs, and nano with WSL

Servers: Spin up Node.js, install your dependencies with npm, and start testing your web app on Windows Subsystem For Linux

Development: Install compilers and libraries from the Ubuntu repository, maintained by Canonical.

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