If you are a Windows user and want to dip your toes in the Linux ecosystem without having to fully install it on your computer, then the Windows System for Linux (WSL) is for you. It can give you some Linux capabilities within Windows. Unlike the integration of yesteryears, where you could have installed Ubuntu within Windows as an application, Ubuntu 22.04 is great to try on WSL, as it doesn’t launch Ubuntu as an application, but rather gives you the heart of Ubuntu i.e., the terminal environment within Windows. You can install Ubuntu 22.04 on WSL in both Windows 10 and 11.
In this guide, I will walk you through the entire process of installing Ubuntu 22.04 via the WSL on Windows 10. Windows 11 users can also follow this guide as the installation steps are identical across these Windows versions. Let’s get you started.
Setting up your Windows
Before we get started with the installation, we need to enable a couple of options in your Windows to prepare it for the Ubuntu 22.04 WSL installation. Open up your start menu and pull up the “Turn Windows Features on or off” dialog box.
In the dialog box that opens up, you need to locate “Virtual Machine Platform” along with “Windows Subsystem for Linux”. Select the check boxes next to both of them and then press OK.
Depending on the state of your computer, it might ask you to restart. As such:
When your PC reboots, you’ll have the Windows Subsystem for Linux enabled and ready for Ubuntu Installation.
Installing Ubuntu 22.04
Once your computer has been rebooted, open up the Microsoft Store and search for Ubuntu.
From the options click on the highlighted one. Click on the “Get” button to get started.
This will start the download process. Depending on your bandwidth, it will take some time to complete the download. Once that is done, you can simply launch Ubuntu from the start menu.
Launching Ubuntu on WSL
Open up your start menu and type Ubuntu.
Running it for the first time will unpack the distro for you.
When that is done, you will be prompted to create a user. Go ahead and select the username of your choice. For the purposes of this guide, I am setting up the username as “test”.
Please note that there is a forced format for usernames, as you can see, I selected “sysAdmin”, and it prompted me to select another name. Select your password as well.
Once you’re done with that, you will be welcomed into Ubuntu 22.04 on WSL.
Benefits of using Ubuntu 22.04 on WSL
Compared to the command line interface on Windows, the Ubuntu terminal is a very powerful tool. Using it, you can employ commands such as sudo, apt along with many others to improve your web development and data science workflows and easily manage any IT infrastructure from the comfort of windows.
Using this, you can leverage GPU acceleration for Artificial Intelligence as well as Machine Learning workloads. Using this, you can easily manage docker containers getting improved performance as well as startup times. You can also develop cross-platform applications without having to switch between operating systems.
With this guide, you learned how to install Ubuntu 22.04 through the Windows Subsystem for Linux on Microsoft Windows (10 or 11). Though it’s not the same as installing the complete operating system on your computer, WSL makes it possible for you to leverage cross-operating system functionalities to achieve your goals without a dedicated hypervisor or hardware.
If you run into any issues, feel free to drop a message below and I’ll be glad to walk you through the issue.