On Windows 10, you can upgrade the Windows Subsystem for Linux platform to version 2, including existing distros, and in this guide, you’ll learn how. The Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) is the new version of the implementation that uses a lightweight virtual machine instead of a direct translation between both operating systems, providing significant improvements on performance and complete call compatibility support.
If you’ve been running the first version of the implementation on Windows 10, you can update to Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 and convert the existing Linux installations with a package download to update the kernel and a few PowerShell commands.
In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to upgrade WSL to WSL2 and convert Linux distros to version 2 on Windows 10.
Upgrade from WSL to WSL2 on Windows 10
To upgrade from the first version of WSL to WSL2, use these steps:
Download this WSL2 kernel update (required).
Double-click the wsl_update_x64.msi file and apply the update.
Search for PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
Type the following command to set Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 your default architecture for new distros you’ll install and press Enter:
wsl --set-default-version 2
Type the following command to get a list of all the distros installed on your device and press Enter:
wsl -l -v
Type the following command to convert the distro from WSL 1 to WSL 2 and press Enter:
wsl --set-version DISTRO-NAME 2
In the command, make sure to replace DISTRO-NAME for the actual name of the Linux distribution.
Type the following command to verify the version of the distro and press Enter:
wsl --list --verbose
Confirm the distros are set to version 2.
Once you complete the steps, you may need to repeat steps 7 through 10 to convert the remaining distros to version 2.