This very useful capability debuted in Windows 10 all the way back in 2017, providing developers with the ability to run GNU/Linux environments directly in the operating system without requiring dual-boot configurations or virtual machines.
Over the years, Microsoft continued to refine this feature, culminating in the launch of version 2.
Obviously, the feature is present in Windows 11 as well.
And while previously, the method to enable WSL on your device was through the “Turn Windows Features on or off” dialog box, Microsoft now has a dedicated app for WSL via the Microsoft Store on Windows 11.
As the software titan notes, the application is currently available as a preview in the Microsoft Store.
But its arrival brings two distinct advantages for users.
Distributing the app through this method gets users access to features faster, as WSL can be directly updated through the storefront, instead of the traditional method of waiting for new feature updates for Windows 11 every year to get new features.
And secondly, this decoupling from the OS means that users will no longer have to modify their Windows installation just to add new features and options to Windows Subsystem for Linux.
Speaking of new features and options, Redmond has added a whole array of new capabilities to WSL, the details of which you can glean from the link above.
Important to note that while the in-Windows version and the Microsoft Store counterpart of WSL can both coexist and have access to the same distros, the Store variant will take precedence. In fact, Microsoft is seeking feedback on the viability of including WSL in the Windows image.
But the big takeaway is that the company will be promoting the latter version as the optimal way to enable the capability on a Windows 11 machine.
As it should.
You can download Windows Subsystem for Linux form the Microsoft Store using the link below.
Download: Windows Subsystem for Linux