How to Install Linux on Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Installing Linux on Windows 11 might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite straightforward. By using a feature called the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), you can run a Linux environment directly on Windows, without the need for a dual-boot setup or virtual machine. In just a few steps, you’ll have Linux up and running on your Windows 11 machine.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Install Linux on Windows 11

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to know that by following this tutorial, you’ll be able to run Linux alongside your Windows 11 operating system. This means you can use Linux commands, applications, and even graphical user interfaces without leaving Windows.

Step 1: Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux

First, you need to enable WSL on your Windows 11 computer.

To do this, open the Windows Features dialog by searching for "Turn Windows features on or off" in the Start menu. Scroll down and check the box next to "Windows Subsystem for Linux," then click "OK" to install it. After installation, you will need to restart your computer.

Step 2: Update to WSL 2

Once your system has restarted, you’ll want to update WSL to the latest version, WSL 2.

Open PowerShell as an administrator and run the command wsl --set-default-version 2. This command will set WSL 2 as the default version for any new Linux distributions you install.

Step 3: Install Your Linux Distribution

Now, it’s time to install the Linux distribution of your choice from the Microsoft Store.

Open the Microsoft Store and search for your favorite Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu, Debian, or Fedora. Click "Get" or "Install" to download and install it on your system.

Step 4: Set Up Your Linux Distribution

After installation, launch your Linux distribution from the Start menu.

The first time you open it, you’ll be prompted to create a user account and password. This is the account you’ll use to log in to your Linux environment.

Step 5: Enjoy Linux on Windows 11

Congratulations, you’ve successfully installed Linux on Windows 11!

Explore your new Linux environment by running commands, installing software, and customizing settings. Remember that you can always launch your Linux distribution from the Start menu or via the command line using PowerShell or the Windows Command Prompt.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a fully functional Linux environment on your Windows 11 system. You can switch between Windows and Linux applications seamlessly, offering a flexible and powerful computing experience.

Tips: How to Install Linux on Windows 11

  • Before starting the installation process, make sure your system meets the minimum requirements for running WSL 2.
  • When choosing a Linux distribution, consider what you’ll be using it for. Different distributions may offer unique tools and software packages that can benefit your workflow.
  • Regularly update your Linux distribution to ensure you have the latest security updates and features.
  • If you’re new to Linux, take some time to learn the basics of the command line. It’s a powerful tool that can greatly enhance your productivity.
  • Experiment with different terminal emulators and customizations to create a Linux environment that suits your preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my Windows 11 PC can run WSL 2?

Your PC must meet the minimum system requirements for WSL 2, which include running Windows 10 version 1903 or higher, with Build 18362 or higher. For Windows 11, WSL is supported on all versions.

Can I run graphical Linux applications on Windows 11?

Yes, with the latest updates to WSL, you can run graphical Linux applications on Windows 11 by installing a companion system package for your Linux distribution that enables GUI support.

What is the difference between WSL 1 and WSL 2?

WSL 2 is a significant upgrade over WSL 1, offering full system call compatibility, faster file system performance, and native Docker container support. It’s recommended to use WSL 2 for the best experience.

Can I access my Windows files from the Linux environment?

Absolutely! Your Windows file system is mounted under the "/mnt" directory in the Linux environment, allowing you to access your C: drive, for example, at "/mnt/c".

Do I need to disable Secure Boot or enable virtualization in BIOS to use WSL 2?

No, unlike traditional virtual machines or dual-boot setups, WSL 2 does not require you to disable Secure Boot or enable virtualization in your system’s BIOS settings.


  1. Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux.
  2. Update to WSL 2.
  3. Install your chosen Linux distribution from the Microsoft Store.
  4. Set up your Linux distribution.
  5. Enjoy using Linux on Windows 11.


Installing Linux on Windows 11 is a breeze with the Windows Subsystem for Linux. It bridges the gap between two powerful operating systems, offering a versatile platform for developers, system administrators, and tech enthusiasts. Whether you’re coding, running servers, or simply exploring Linux, WSL empowers you with the flexibility to do so without ever leaving the comfort of your Windows 11 desktop. Dive in, experiment, and enjoy the best of both worlds. If you have any questions or run into issues, the Linux and Windows communities are both vibrant and supportive. Happy computing!

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