How to install and activate Linux in Windows 10

Thanks to the collaboration between Microsoft and Canonical, the company that takes care of the development of Ubuntu, we can use, for work or for programming, a Linux distribution within Windows 10, without necessarily having to partition to install Linux alongside Windows.
In concrete we are going to install the text shell used in Linux operating systems called BASH, which is similar to the DOS command prompt but much more powerful and flexible.
The Bash Linux shell allows you to use Windows as if it were a Linux system and, therefore, to navigate folders, open files, rename them, launch programs and all other operations that would be done on a computer, at the command line from the keyboard, without icons and without mouse.
In this guide we will show you how to install and activate the Linux Bash shell inside Windows 10, not only Ubuntu but also other distributions.
READ ALSO: How to install Linux Ubuntu on PC from scratch

How to install Linux Ubuntu on Windows

To get started we need to make sure we have the latest version of Windows 10 installed. In addition, Windows 10 must be installed in the 64-bit version (in the case of a 32-bit system, we read our guide on how to switch from Windows 10 32-bit to 64-bit ).
To install Linux on Windows 10, open the Settings from the Start menu (the gear icon), go to the Update and Security section -> For developers and activate the Developer mode item.
After we open the Start menu again and search for " Programs and Features ", go to the menu Activation / deactivation of Windows features and, in the window that opens, activate the entry Windows Subsystem for Linux .

We press the OK button, wait for the end of the installation and restart the computer for the changes to take effect. After the restart, we can install our Linux Ubuntu distribution by opening the Microsoft Store from the Start menu, going to the search button at the top right and typing Ubuntu; we highlight the app called Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and, in the summary screen, we click Get to install it on our Windows system.

If we want to try other distributions, just use one of the following links:
  1. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15
  2. Kali Linux
  3. Debian
  4. Fedora Remix for WSL
  5. pengwin

Some of them are paid, but we can still install a trial version, so to choose if it is worth buying them. For Kali Linux we advise you to deepen the discussion by reading our guide Download Kali Linux and all its tools for "hackers" .

Initialize Linux Ubuntu on Windows

At the end of the installation, we will have to initialize the new distribution so that we can use it within Windows. To do this, we look for Ubuntu or the name of our distribution chosen in the Start menu, so as to find ourselves with a window similar to the prompt (it is actually bash).
We await the initial installation and, when prompted by the window, choose a username to access Ubuntu features.

We write any username and then choose a password (confirm all the steps with the Enter or Enter key on the keyboard). We can notice that when we write the password, no letter or symbol appears on the screen: it is not a problem, it is a common security measure on Linux.
Note : the password chosen for the account is also useful for elevating administrator permissions, when it is necessary to use the sudo command.
At the end of the creation of the user we will not have to do anything else, since we are ready to use the Linux terminal to its fullest potential. We first recommend that you update our Linux system by running the following command in the Ubuntu terminal window:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
We will thus update the list of packages and obtain the new versions of those listed below. To install new programs from the terminal, we use the command instead:
sudo apt-get install
Where instead of package-name we can choose one of the many programs available for Ubuntu and running within Windows. These programs will not interfere with Windows programs, so we can use them without problems and without worrying about conflicts (in fact we are taking advantage of an isolated and dedicated Linux environment where we can do any kind of experiment!).
Other commands that we can use in the Linux terminal are:
  • Change folder: cd
  • Have the list of files: ls
  • Move or rename a File: mv
  • Copy File: cp
  • Delete a File: rm
  • Create folder: mkdir
  • Write a new text file: vi or nano

To know how to use other commands of the Linux distribution integrated in Windows, we can launch the help command, which opens a screen in which there are a basic command guide.


By installing Ubuntu inside Windows we will be able to use all the tools operating from the terminal, without necessarily having to install the entire distribution on a dedicated partition. Obviously we will not be able to use programs with a graphical interface, since the integration offered within the system is only at the bash level (we can launch Linux commands or start programs that work from the command line), but for those who program with Linux this is not a problem, since most of the tools offered on Linux work very well from the command line (and as a consequence it also works well on Windows, taking advantage of the integration seen in this guide).
If you need Linux programs with a graphical interface, we advise you to read our Linux Ubuntu guides to be installed for free and How to install two operating systems to choose from at startup . If, on the other hand, we want to learn how to best use a Linux operating system, we recommend that you carefully read our guide on Linux directories: what are the main folders of each distribution .

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