- Microsoft releases the WSL app through the Microsoft Store.
- The app is available as a preview for Windows 11 users.
- You still need to enable the Virtual Machine Platform before getting the app.
Microsoft has converted the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) experience into an app that you can download and update from the Microsoft Store. And a preview is available right now for Windows 11 users.
Traditionally, the Windows image included many components to set up the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which meant that you needed to upgrade to the latest version of the OS to get the updated version of the feature. Now, Microsoft is grabbing all the components and making an app that anyone can easily download from the Microsoft Store with a single click.
The new app also means that WSL will receive updates through the Microsoft Store as soon as they are ready, without waiting for the next version of Windows.
The only prerequisite is that you still need to manually enable the Virtual Machine Platform on Windows 11 before installing the app, which you can enable with this command:
dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all.
If you want to install WSL directly from the Microsoft Store, you only need to click the Get button from the Windows Subsystem for Linux app page, click the Open button, and click the Get button from the Microsoft Store app.
Since this is an app isolated from Windows 11, you can install it alongside the classic installation of WSL. However, the app will take precedence over the classic install, which means that when you open the WSL console, you will be interacting with the Microsoft Store app.
If you want to continue to use the inbox version of WSL, you can still use it, but Microsoft may decide to replace it with the app from the Store in the future.
While this solution will make it easier for more users to download and set up WSL on Windows 11, this approach still requires enabling the Virtual Machine Platform option through PowerShell or the “Turn Windows Features on or off” page. On the other hand, you can run the
wsl --install command to download and install all components without extra steps, which is an easier process.