Microsoft has transformed the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) into an app that you can simply download and install from the Microsoft Store on Windows 11. A preview version of the app is available right now, allowing Windows 11 users to install Windows Subsystem for Linux without having to head into add / remove programs and selecting WSL as an optional inbox component for Windows.
This separate app will now be serviced through the store, which means Microsoft can update WSL independently from Windows, allowing WSL users to “get the latest WSL updates and features faster, and without needing to modify your Windows version.” While there are no new changes with this Store app version just yet, it does mean that future updates can appear without needing to wait for a bigger Windows release or update.
Microsoft enabled Linux GUI apps on Windows 10 for developers last year, and features like this will be available immediately in the Microsoft Store in the future. It appears that this Microsoft Store app for WSL will only work on Windows 11, though. Microsoft doesn’t mention Windows 10 in its blog post, suggesting that you’ll need to update to benefit from the Microsoft Store app. It’s good news for Windows 11 users though, especially those in enterprise environments where it often takes slightly longer to get the latest Windows versions.
Microsoft will still support the inbox version of WSL so you can run them side by side, and aims to move Windows 11 users over to the Microsoft Store version eventually. “Our goals are to make WSL in the Microsoft Store the best way to install and use WSL, as you’ll be able to get the latest updates fastest through that route, and in the long term we’d like to move WSL users to use the store version,” explains Craig Loewen, a program manager for the Windows developer platform.