Updating the WSL 2 Linux kernel

To manually update the Linux kernel inside of WSL 2 please follow these steps.

Note

If the installer can't find WSL 1, right-click the Linux kernel update installer and press "Uninstall", then rerun the installer.

Download the Linux kernel update package

Please download the latest WSL2 Linux kernel update package for x64 machines.

Note

If you're using an ARM64 machine, please download the ARM64 package instead.

Install the Linux kernel update package

To install the Linux kernel update package:

  1. Run the update package downloaded in the previous step.

  2. You will be prompted for elevated permissions, select ‘yes’ to approve this installation.

  3. Once the installation is complete, you are ready to begin using WSL2!

Future plans for updating the WSL2 Linux kernel

For more information, read the article changes to updating the WSL2 Linux kernel, available on the Windows Command Line Blog.

Troubleshooting

This update only applies to machines with the Windows Subsystem for Linux

To install MSI kernel, WSL is required and should be enabled first. If it fails, it you will see the message: This update only applies to machines with the Windows Subsytem for Linux.

There are three possible reason you see this message:

  1. You are still in old version of Windows which doesn't support WSL 2. Please check the WSL 2 requirements and upgrade to use WSL 2.
  2. Windows Subsystem for Linux is not enabled. Please follow the Windows Subsystem for Linux Installation Guide.
  3. After you enabled Windows Subsystem for Linux, a reboot is required to take into effect, please reboot your machine and try again.

WSL 2 requires an update to its kernel component. For information please visit https://aka.ms/wsl2kernel

Each time kernel is missing in %SystemRoot%\system32\lxss\tools, you may run into the above error.

Here are some possible ways to resolve it:

  1. Please install the Linux kernel manually by following the instructions at: https://aka.ms/wsl2kernel
  2. Uninstall the MSI from 'Add or Remove Programs', and install it again