Installation Instructions for WSL 2

To install and start using WSL 2 complete the following steps:

  • Enable the 'Virtual Machine Platform' optional component
  • Set a distro to be backed by WSL 2 using the command line
  • Verify what versions of WSL your distros are using

Please note that you'll need to be running Windows 10 build 18917 or higher to use WSL 2, and that you will need to have WSL already installed (you can find instructions to do so here).

Enable the 'Virtual Machine Platform' optional component

Open PowerShell as an Administrator and run:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName VirtualMachinePlatform

After these changes are enabled you will need to restart your computer.

Set a distro to be backed by WSL 2 using the command line

In PowerShell run:

wsl --set-version <Distro> 2

and make sure to replace <Distro> with the actual name of your distro. (You can find these with the command: wsl -l). You can change back to WSL 1 at anytime by running the same command as above but replacing the '2' with a '1'.

Additionally, if you want to make WSL 2 your default architecture you can do so with this command:

wsl --set-default-version 2

This will make any new distro that you install be initialized as a WSL 2 distro.

Finish with verifying what versions of WSL your distro are using

To verify what versions of WSL each distro is using use the following command:

wsl --list --verbose or wsl -l -v

The distro that you've chosen above should now display a '2' under the 'version' column. Now that you're finished feel free to start using your WSL 2 distro!


Below are related errors and suggested fixes when installing WSL 2. Please refer to the WSL troubleshooting page for other general WSL errors and their solutions.

  • Installation failed with error 0x80070003 or error 0x80370102

    • Please make sure that virtualization is enabled inside of your computer's BIOS. The instructions on how to do this will vary from computer to computer, and will most likely be under CPU related options.
  • Error when trying to upgrade: Invalid command line option: wsl --set-version Ubuntu 2

    • Please make sure that you have the Windows Subsystem for Linux enabled, and that you're using Windows Build version 18917 or higher. To enable WSL run this command in a Powershell prompt with admin privileges: Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux. You can find the full WSL install instructions here.