The Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) is a useful feature that allows you to run Linux distros alongside Windows 10. The biggest advantage of version 2 over version 1 is the new lightweight virtual machine architecture that offers better system performance and full support for call compatibility, rather than a direct translation between both operating systems.
Also, since the distributions are available through the Microsoft Store, they install and behave like an app. This means that if you are having problems or need to start over with a specific Linux distro, you can reset the distribution running on WSL2 using the Settings app or command line without removing and redownloading the bits to start over.
In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to reset a Linux distro (such as Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Debian, or SUSE) to fix problems or reset the configuration on Windows 10. (See also how to install WSL2 on Windows 10.)
How to reset Linux distro on WSL2 with Settings
To reset a Linux distribution on the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2, use these steps:
Open Settings on Windows 10.
Click on Apps.
Click on Apps & features.
Select the distribution of Linux and click the Advanced options link.
Click the Reset button.
(Optional) Click the Repair button.Quick tip: Give the reset a few minutes. If you can’t open the distro again, then the repair option may help.
Once you complete the steps, the Linux distro will be reset. If you want to start it over, you will need to go through the setup process one more time.
How to reset Linux distro on WSL2 with command line
To unregister a Linux distro on WLS2 with Command Prompt, use these steps:
Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
Type the following command to view a list of all available distros and press Enter:
wsl --listQuick tip: You can also write the command like this:
Type the following command to set a distro as the new default and press Enter:
wsl --unregister DISTRO-NAME
In the command, replace DISTRO-NAME for the name of the distro you want to set as default (see step No. 3).
For example, this command unregisters Kali Linux:
wsl --unregister Kali-linux
Type the following command to confirm distros and press Enter:
After you complete the steps, the distro will reset and no longer be available on the Windows Subsystem for Linux. However, the distro will remain installed on the computer. If you want to register it again, click the Launch button from the Microsoft Store or select it from the Start menu.