How to Install WSL 2 on Windows Home and Windows pro

What is WSL?

WSL Stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux. What exactly does it do?

  • It integrates Linux into native windows without the need to use an external virtual machine.
  • It allows you to run native linux applications like Ubuntu and Debian on Windows
  • It allows you to use install and run docker on windows home edition, and more things
  • Basically, it gives you access to linux system using a windows machine.

This tutorial will be focused on teaching you how to install WSL2 on windows 10 home and windows 10 pro

Below is a video tutorial showing you everything written below. You can watch the video, read the blog, or combine both resources for better understanding.

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2) and Ubuntu on Windows 10 Home & Windows 10 Pro

Step 1: System Requirements for WSL 2 on Windows

Make sure your computer meets the requirements to use WSL 2. Here are the requirements

To check your system type and version, just click on windows icon and search for “system information”. That will give you everything you need to know about the type of system you are running.

  • Windows 10 or Above
  • For x64 systems: Version 1903 or higher, with Build 18362 or higher.
  • For ARM64 systems: Version 2004 or higher, with Build 19041 or higher.
  • Builds lower than 18362 do not support WSL 2.

Step 2: How to Enable “Virtual Machine Feature” on Windows Home & Windows Pro

The next step is to enable virtual machine feature on your windows computer. There are 2 options for doing that. You can do it with code or without code.

  • Now, you have to make sure
    • Virtualization is enabled in the BIOS, your computer has
    • Second Level Address Translation (SLAT), and have
    • Hypervisor enabled at Windows startup.
  • Use this method to verify your system can run hyper-V. Open the command line —> type in “systeminfo” —> scroll to the bottom and check Hyper-V requirements. Make sure everything says “YES”

If everything is not checked yes, you need to google how to enable BIOS level virtualization for your computer since it varies from device to device.

If everything is checked Yes, then proceed to the next step.

Option 1: Enable Virtual Machine Feature using Code:

To enable virtual machine using code,

  • Open Windows Powershell as an Admin, then type in
dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all /norestart

Option 2: Enable Virtual Machine Feature WITHOUT using Code.

To enable Virtual machine feature without code, do the following

  • Click on windows icon and search for control panel. Open control panel
  • Click on Programs
  • Under Programs, click on “Turn windows features on or off
  • Scroll down to “Virtual Machine Feature“, Click on it, then click OK.
How to enable windows Virtual machine platform

Step 3: How to Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2)

There are 2 options to enable WSL2 on your computer WITH or WITHOUT Code.

Option 1: Enable WSL2 using Code

To use this option,

  • Open Powershell as an Admin, then type
dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux /all /norestart

Option 2: Enable WSL2 WITHOUT CODE

To use this option,

  • Click on windows icon and search for “Turn windows features on or off
  • Scroll down to “Windows Subsystem for Linux”, Click on it, then click OK.
How to enable windows subsystem for linux (WSL2)

Restart your computer after this step to complete WSL installation

Step 4: How to download WSL 2 for Windows; How to update WSL to WSL 2 in windows

How you upgrade your WSL system to WSL2 is a little different if you are on Intel x64 system or ARM64 system.

If you are on Intel x64 computer, download this —> WSL2 Linux kernel update package for x64 machines

If you are on ARM64 computer, download this —> ARM64 Package

Next step, Click on the downloaded package and run it. It will ask you for elevated permissions, click on “yes” and install the package.

To find the type of computer you are using, you can

  • Open command line or powershell and type systeminfo | find "System Type" Or
  • Click on windows icon, search “system info“, click on system information, and check “system type

Step 5: How to Set WSL 2 as your Default WSL Version

To set WSL 2 as the default version,

  • Open Powershell or Command line
  • Type wsl --set-default-version 2

NOTE: if you are using an ARM64 device and running this command from PowerShell, you might receive an error message that says “The term ‘wsl’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program” .

To resolve this error, instead of the above command, run wsl.exe --set-default-version 2 from PowerShell Core, or Command Prompt.

If you are getting this error on an intel x64 system, make sure you followed step 1 above to enable “Virtual machine feature”

Step 6: How to install Linux on Windows

To get the linux distribution of your choice,

Potential Errors from Installing WSL2

If you run into any problems during these process, let me know in the comment section below. Here is one error you might run into below.

NOTE: If you get this error message : “Installation failed with error 0x80070003 or error 0x80370102” it means that Bios Level Virtualization is not enabled on your computer.

  • Check to see if virtualization capabilities is enabled on your computer. There are 2 ways to check if virtualization is enabled. Option 1 to check if Bios Virtualization is enabled
    • Click on windows icon, search for “task manager”, open it.
    • Click on performance (Click on more details if necessary to see all the tabs)
    • Under CPU, you will see Virtualization: Enabled/Disabled
  • Option 2 to check if Bios Virtualization is enabled
    • Open the command line
    • Type in Systeminfo.exe
    • Scroll to the Hyper-V section to see if virtualization is enabled or not.
  • If virtualization is not enabled, google how to enable Bios virtualization for your computer since it varies from computer to computer.

STEP 7: Now you can Install Docker on Windows Home Edition Using These Instructions

Installing WSL2 is the key to being able to install and use Docker on Windows 10 HOME. Without WSL2, you can’t use docker on window 10 HOME. So, head over to this blog where I show you step-by-step how to install docker in Windows 10 HOME and Windows 10 Pro

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