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How to update WSL Kernel on Windows 11


WSL Kernel also referred to as Windows Subsystem for Linux updates automatically on Windows 11. But if you have paused automatic updates or for a reason WSL didn’t update automatically, you can install the latest WSL updates manually. In this post, we will show you how to update WSL Kernel on Windows 11.

How to update WSL Kernel on Windows 11

WSL Kernel allows users to have a Linux environment with everything Linux kernel can offer in Windows 11 PC. It is a kind of virtual machine that many love to integrate with Windows. It is even more for developers as it allows them to access Linux and Windows without installing conventional virtual machines.

What is the importance of updating WSL Kernel on Windows 11?

The rule of thumb is to ensure all your apps and systems are up-to-date on your Windows PC. It is the same case with WSL. There is a lag that occurs when there is an update released to GitHub or any other Github alternatives, which is why you need to manually update WSL. There could be something that the Linux distro you are running on your computer might require, which is only available after an update. Once an update is released, it takes a short time to reach Windows 11 updates. But even with that, you might want to force the update manually before it is available for automatic updates on your PC. Another importance for updating WSL is to ensure that fixes are installed that were in the previous version. The general performance and security features are enhanced with an update.

Note: Learn how to install WSL 2 or Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 on Windows 11/10 in a few steps. Even if you are a beginner, you will be able to get started without hitches.

How to update WSL Kernel on Windows 11

There are two ways to update the WSL kernel on Windows 11. The two methods include;

  1. Update WSL kernel using Microsoft Store
  2. Update WSL kernel using Command Prompt or PowerShell

Here are these methods in detail.

1] Update WSL kernel using Microsoft Store.

How to update WSL Kernel on Windows 11

If you have already downloaded and installed Windows Subsystem for Linux app from Microsoft Store, updating it is straightforward. All you need is to go to the store, type Windows Subsystem for Linux, and hit Enter to initiate the search. Select the appropriate results. Choose Update if you already have the app or click Get if you don’t have the app yet. Wait for the app to update and launch WSL when it is done. This will be how users will be getting WSL updates in the future as the WSL team has an opportunity to update the app from the app itself rather than going through the Windows 11 updates.

2] Update WSL kernel using Command Prompt or PowerShell

How to update WSL Kernel on Windows 11

If you have admin privileges, you can install the WSL kernel updates using PowerShell. Type PowerShell or Command Prompt on the Windows search bar and select Run as administrator. Once it opens, type or copy-paste the following command line and press Enter.

wsl --update

If you would like to confirm if the update was installed you can run the command line below and check the version against the latest one in platforms like GitHub.

wsl --version

If you don’t have WSL installed on your Windows 11 PC, run the following command line using Command Prompt or PowerShell as an Administrator.

wsl --install

Give it time and then restart your PC. Note that WSL comes with a default distribution or distro which is Ubuntu. If you need other alternatives, you can download them from Microsoft Store. Also, you can use WSL on the Windows Terminal app.

To enable automatic updates for WSL on Windows 11, open the Settings app and go to Windows Update > Advanced options. Toggle on the button next to Receive updates for other Microsoft products. Windows will receive WSL updates and install them automatically.

We hope you can now update the WSL kernel on Windows 11.

Next: How to set Linux Distribution version to WSL1 or WSL2 in Windows 11

What version of WSL works with Windows 11?

WSL2 is the most recent version of Windows Subsystem for Linux for Windows 11 and the latest versions of Windows 10. If you have older versions of Windows you need to update or upgrade. WSL2 allows users to use Linux distributions with no need to have a virtual machine. It also allows developers to run repositories natively.

Why WSL doesn’t work on Windows 11?

Fix: 0x80072eff WSL error on Windows computer

WSL may fail to work on Windows due to glitches that can be fixed by updating WSL or restarting your PC. It may also fail if you haven’t enabled Hyper-V or virtual machine if you are older versions of WSL. WSL2 does not require you to activate any virtual machine on Windows 11.

How to update WSL Kernel on Windows 11

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