On Windows 10, you can install multiple Linux distributions using WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux 2). The only caveat is that the first one you install will be the default automatically, which means you cannot run your preferred distro with certain commands (such as
wsl) out-of-the-box if you installed another distro before the one you like.
However, if you want to use another Linux distribution, WSL includes a command to set any distro as the new default on Windows 10.
In this guide, you will learn the steps to make your preferred distro the new default on Windows 10.
Set default Linux distro on WSL2
To set a Linux distro as the default on Windows Subsystem for Linux 2, use these steps:
Open Start on Windows 10.
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 --setdefault DISTRO-NAME
In the command, replace “DISTRO-NAME” with the name of the distro to set it as default (see step 3). For example, this command makes Kali Linux the default distro:
wsl --setdefault Kali-linuxQuick tip: You can also write the command like this:
wsl -s Kali-linux.
Once you complete the steps, the distro will be set as the new default on Windows 10, so when you run a command like
wsl, Kali will run by default (in this case).