Microsoft is Bringing Linux GUI Apps To Windows 10

Microsoft Windows and Linux are two very different Operating systems that are widely used all over the world. While one is open source and free to use (Linux), the other comes at a price of around $100 (Windows). Both of them have their own large communities of well-wishers.

Microsoft is Bringing Linux GUI Apps to Windows 10

Although Microsoft has always opposed Linux, it was a shock for the entire Linux as well as Windows community when it was announced that it will provide native support for the Linux. Microsoft calls this bridge as WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux). It was a dream come true for the users using both Operating Systems for their work purposes.

What is Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)?

As the name itself tells the story, it is a light and fast Linux environment that you can use inside the windows 10 OS. WSL is an optional feature in the windows, which can be activated by the users.

With WSL you get all the core Linux programs which include GNU tools like find, awk, grep, and sed, which are helpful in locating, searching, and modifying the contents of files. WSL acts like a translation layer that translates the actions, commands, and Linux binaries to the windows operating system. In comparison to Applications like virtual box, VM workstation it is faster and takes much fewer memory resources.

Microsoft is Bringing Linux GUI Apps to Windows 10

Furthermore, new users who haven’t installed or used Linux find it hard to use Linux, and they aren’t aware of all the commands leading to issues like the File or Directory is Corrupted and unreadable errors and messing up their computer systems.

However, in WSL, you cannot do much because it lacks the Linux kernel. There is no GUI and you have to do everything on the command line interface which most people don’t prefer. This limitation was overcome with the release of WSL 2.

WSL 2 -

WSL 2 is a great improvement over WSL. With the help, you WSL 2 you now have a GUI integrated within the file explorer of the windows. WSL 2 comes with Microsoft’s own custom Linux kernel that was missing in the WSL.

With the Linux kernel inbuilt you can expect faster read-write operations, better response time and performance, large support for Linux application. WSL can be used from Windows 10 version 2004 and onwards, so it is better that you upgrade your system.

Microsoft is Bringing Linux GUI Apps to Windows 10

How GUI Works?

WSL 2 uses Wayland display server protocol which helps in the communication with Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client on the Windows host. This allows us to run the Linux GUI and apps inside Windows 10. With the GUI and WSL 2. Developers can now edit, build, and develop Linux programs and applications on Windows.

Advantages of WSL 2 over WSL -

In comparison with WSL, the architecture of WSL 2 is quite different, while WSL uses a translation layer, WSL 2 is a virtual machine integrated with Linux kernel. WSL 2 gives the user full system capabilities of the Linux environment.

WSL 2 also comes with GPU hardware acceleration, this helps in harnessing the power of GPU with the windows host which is very helpful is you are into parallel computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence development.

Furthermore, you get an overall faster in-app communication, faster command processing, and better read and writes speed.

How to Enable & Use WSL/WSL2 Feature -


To use the features, you should be having the two important requirements that are: -

  • Windows 10 Version 2004 or up.
  • Your System must support Hyper-V Virtualization Support.

Steps: Below are all the required steps to enable the WSL or WSL 2 features in the windows.

STEP 1. First of all, make sure to update your windows by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.

STEP 2. Now enable WSL feature by going to Start Menu then search Turn Windows features on or off.

STEP 3. Once the windows features window is opened up, locate Windows Subsystem for Linux and enable it by Ticking.

STEP 4. Also, don’t forget to enable Virtual Machine Platform as well.

STEP 5. Once enabled, open up PowerShell and execute the command wsl --set-default-version 2, the command will update the WSL to WSL 2.

STEP 6. To install your favorite Linux distro, open Microsoft Store and search the distro like Ubuntu, Fedora, etc. and install it.

Wrapping Up:

Both Windows and Linux are famous for their OS offerings and services, with windows you get the most user-friendly UI but when it comes to development Linux is quite powerful. Earlier it was very hard for users to keep both OS onto one system, although with virtualization applications like Virtual box it was easy to use but at the cost of the laggy, slow less un-responsive system.

With WSL and Linux integration into windows, it will be easier for users to do their developments, projects, and tasks, without moving back and forth between the OS’s.

Thank you for reading this article. Do let me know for any queries in comment section below.

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About Author

Akash is a co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email (

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