How to view WSL Linux distros to install on Windows 11

Here's the command to see all the Linux distros available for download and install on WSL.

WSL list distros to install command
WSL list distros to install command

On the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), you can view all the available Linux distributions you can download and install on Windows 11, and in this guide, you will learn how. 

Although you may know the Linux distro in question, you may still need to know the exact name and version to download and install it on your computer, and this is an easy task using the WSL command-line tool.

This guide will teach you the steps to create a list of all the Linux distros you can download and install from the Microsoft Store on WSL.

List Linux distros available to install on WSL

To see all of the WSL Linux distros you can download and install on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command to view the Linux distros available you can download and install and press Enter:

    wsl --list --online

    WSL list online command

    Quick tip: You can also write the command as wsl -l –online.
  4. (Optional) Type the following command to install the latest Ubunut distro and press Enter:

    wsl --install -d Ubuntu-22.04

Once you complete the steps, the command will output the distros name and friendly names as well as the versions available. 

If you use the WSL --install command without any arguments, the system will download and install the latest version of Ubuntu.

This guide focuses on Windows 11, but you can use the commands on Windows 10 as well.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].