Microsoft announced today that the Store version of Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is generally available for Windows 10 and 11 customers.
With the switch to WSL in the Store, Redmond also moves away from delivering WSL as an optional operating system component.
While both provide the same user experience, with the Microsoft Store version being the default, users will get faster updates and servicing (as soon as they are available) instead of waiting for a Windows operating system update.
Additionally, following customer requests, all Windows 10 users can now use Linux GUI apps after updating to the Microsoft Store version.
“Today the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in the Microsoft Store is dropping its “Preview” label and becomes generally available with our latest release,” Windows Developer Platform Program Manager Craig Loewen said.
“We are also making the Store version of WSL the default for new users who run wsl –install and easily upgradeable by running wsl –update for existing users.
“In response to the WSL community’s requests, WSL in the Store will now also be available on Windows 10 in addition to Windows 11. So, Windows 10 users will also be able to enjoy all of the latest features for WSL, including systemd and Linux GUI app support!”
The latest generally available version is rolling out to seekers on systems running Windows 10 21H1 and later or Windows 11 21H2 and later, with the November 2022 updates installed.
On the correct Windows version, new users can get WSL by running wsl –install, while existing users can upgrade to the latest Store version using wsl –update.
Microsoft released WSL in 2018 as a compatibility layer allowing Windows users to run Linux binaries on their computers natively, using PowerShell or a Windows 10 command prompt.
WSL 2, a notable upgrade that significantly increased file system performance, was released in May 2019, adding support for full system call compatibility and using a Linux kernel running inside a lightweight virtual machine (VM).
It also added support for GUI-based Linux apps with the introduction of WSLg (short for Windows Subsystem for Linux GUI), which started rolling out to Windows 10 Insiders in May 2021.
You can find detailed guidance on installing and launching Linux GUI apps on the official WSLg GitHub page.