Install Multiple Linux Distros on WSL on Windows 11

A mini-guide to installing multiple Linux distros on WSL on Windows 11.

You can not just install Linux, but you can actually install multiple Linux distros on WSL on Windows 11. And, the installation process is easy and seamless too.

Currently, there are 8 options for Linux distros that you can choose from:

  • Ubuntu
  • Debian GNU/Linux
  • Kali Linux Rolling
  • openSUSE
  • SLES
  • Ubuntu-16.04
  • Ubuntu-18.04
  • Ubuntu-20.04

And, you can either install just one or more of these distros.

Let me show you how…

Installing Multiple Distros on WSL on Windows 11

How to install multiple Linux distros on WSL on Windows 11?

Here, I’ll be breaking up the whole process into 3 steps:

#1 – Activate WSL

First of all, you will need to activate/install WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) on your Windows 11 machine.

To install WSL, you can open the “Turn Windows features on or off” app and check the “Windows Subsystem for Linux” option.

After that, restart your computer and move forward to the next step.

📢 Here’s a detailed guide to installing WSL on Windows 11

#2 – Start installing multiple distros

Now that the WSL is enabled, it’s time to choose the Linux distro (or distros) that you want to install on your system.

And, there are 2 ways to install the distros:

  1. From the Microsoft Store by searching the distro’s name
  2. From Windows Terminal by using simple commands

✅ For example, to install Ubuntu-20.04:

Install Ubuntu-20.04 from Microsoft Store

You can either install it from the Microsoft Store as shown in the above screenshot or just run the below command. Either way, the distro will be installed within a few minutes.

wsl --install -d Ubuntu-20.04

✅ If you want to install Kali Linux, then the process is the same as installing Ubuntu:

Either search for Kali Linux in Microsoft Store and install it from there or just run the below command in Windows Terminal:

wsl --install -d kali-linux

And, the same process goes for other distros too. Here, I have explained the installation process in detail.

#3 – Launch the installed distros

Launching the installed Linux distros is also very easy. You can do that in the following 2 ways:

  • Search for the desired distro in Windows Search and then click on it to launch
  • Click on the dropdown arrow in Windows Terminal and click on the distro that you want to launch (see the below screenshot)
Launch multiple Linux distros from WSL on Windows 11

Once you complete the initial setup, other installed Linux distros will start appearing in the Windows Terminal dropdown options.

That’s it.

If you have any related queries, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

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