Windows Server Installation Guide

Applies to Windows Server 2019 and later

At //Build2017, Microsoft announced that Windows Subsystem for Linux will be available on Windows Server. These instructions walk through running the Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows Server 1709 and later.

Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux

Enable the "Windows Subsystem for Linux" optional feature and reboot.

  1. Open PowerShell as Administrator and run:

    Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
  2. Restart your computer when prompted.

Install a Linux distribution

  1. Download the appx for your favorite Linux distribution.
    Here are links directly to the apps available through the store:

    • Ubuntu
    • OpenSUSE
    • SLES

      You can download the distributions to Windows Server with Invoke-WebRequest cmdlet. Here's a sample instruction to download Ubuntu.

      Invoke-WebRequest -Uri -OutFile ~/ -UseBasicParsing


      If the download is taking a long time, turn off the progress bar by setting $ProgressPreference = 'SilentlyContinue'

  2. Unzip the file

    Expand-Archive ~/ ~/Ubuntu

    Make sure your target directory (~/Ubuntu in this example) is on your system drive. Usually this is your C: drive.
    Example: C:\Distros\Ubuntu

    The contents should look like this:

  3. Run the installer, named <distro>.exe
    For example: ubuntu.exe, fedora.exe, etc.

    Troubleshooting: Installation failed with error 0x8007007e
    This error occurs when your system doesn't support WSL. Make sure that:

  4. Create a UNIX user

    The first time you install the Windows Subsystem for Linux, you will be prompted to create a UNIX username and password.

    This UNIX username and password can be different from, and has no relationship to, your Windows username and password. Learn more about your UNIX account..

  5. Run distro's preferred update/upgrade.

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade

You're done! Go use your new Linux environment!