Linux Windows Server

How to install WSL2 on Windows Server

Featured image_WSL2 installation

WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux 2) introduces a new architecture in which Microsoft provides its own Linux kernel. This new architecture enables running Linux programs on Windows using a lightweight virtual machine. In this article, we will explore the benefits of WSL2, including improved compatibility with Linux applications, the use of a native file system, and support for Windows Server. Additionally, we will guide you through the process of installing WSL2 on Windows Server 2022. In this article, you will learn how to install WSL2 on Windows Server. Please see how to fix WSL Error 0x8007019e: WSL Registrater Distribution failed with error, how to install Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 11 via the Command line, and Microsoft Store.

Before we proceed, here are other related guides on how to run the Linux distributions on Windows: How to install Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows ServerInstall Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on Windows via WSL, how to Setup GitLab Runner on Windows WSL, How to install Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 11 via the Command line, and Microsoft Store: What is Windows Subsystem for Linux, How to install WSL on Windows 10, and Windows Subsystem for Linux: How to install WSL on Windows Server via Server Manager and PowerShell.

Benefits of Windows Subsystem for Linux 2

Enhanced Compatibility: With WSL2, Linux programs can utilize the native interfaces of the Linux kernel, allowing a broader range of applications to run seamlessly. This includes support for Docker containers, expanding the possibilities for development and testing environments.

Native EXT4 File System: WSL2 leverages a native EXT4 file system within the VHDX (Virtual Hard Disk) container, offering improved performance and compatibility for Linux file operations. This enables faster file access and ensures better integration between the Linux environment and the Windows host.

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 for Windows Server 2022

At first, Windows Server 2004 had limited support for WSL2, which was a part of the now-discontinued semiannual channel. However, with the release of Windows Server 2022, Microsoft announced the availability of WSL2 for this server version and all subsequent LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) versions. Unfortunately, Windows Server 2019 will not support WSL2. However, this limitation doesn’t hinder the usage of WSL version 1 for all your distributions, so you can still enjoy the benefits of WSL on your server. Here is a link on how to install WSL on Previous Versions of Windows Server.

Installing Windows Subsystem for Linux 2

To install WSL2 on Windows Server 2022, Microsoft introduced a simplified procedure using the wsl.exe command-line tool. The installation process involves the following steps:

Open an administrator PowerShell or Windows Command Prompt. Please see how to configure additional LSA Protection.

Open Powershell

Enter the following command:

wsl --install

After executing the command, restart your machine to apply the changes.

Install WSL2
Install WSL2

After the Windows server reboot the installation will resume automatically.

WSL2 download and installation
WSL2 download and installation

Congratulations! You have successfully installed the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2.

How to Install Other WSL2 Distro

To install additional distributions, use the command shown below to view the available Linux distributions:

wsl -l -o
View Linux distro
View Linux distro

Copy the name of the preferred distribution from the output. Execute the command shown below to initiate the installation. Replace “<name-of-distribution>” with the name you copied in the previous step.

wsl.exe --install -d <name-of-distribution>

Allow the setup routine to install all the necessary components and reboot the computer.

Install Preferred WSL2 Distro
Install Preferred WSL2 Distro

After logging in again, the installation will complete by configuring the first Linux user and setting the user’s password.

That’s all there is to it! The application is now ready and accessible in your start menu.

View Linux distro in Start Menu
View Linux distro in Start Menu

It is worth noting that both WSL1 and WSL2 can coexist, allowing you to run multiple Linux distributions side by side.


Microsoft’s decision to include WSL2 support in Windows Server 2022 and subsequent LTSC versions brings the benefits of this architecture to server environments. However, it is important to understand that WSL2 is not intended for running productive Linux workloads. For such scenarios, Microsoft recommends using virtual machines. Nevertheless, WSL2 is highly popular among developers and in lab environments, providing an efficient and convenient way to utilize Linux applications on Windows.

In this article, you have learned how to install WSL2 on Windows Server. Please let me know in the comment section if you have any questions.

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