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Microsoft has made a big change to Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), making it more accessible to users on Windows 11. Specifically, WSL is now available as an app that users can install from the Microsoft Store. This puts alongside other standard apps available on Windows.

The app is currently available as a preview and means users can now get Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) without needing to make major system changes.

Microsoft says the WSL Windows 11 app will be serviced through the Store. Users will get updates separately from Windows. This essentially means that updates will come in-between major Windows feature upgrades.

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According to the company, WSL users can “get the latest WSL updates and features faster, and without needing to modify your Windows version.”

It is worth noting the Microsoft Store app is debuting as an exact copy of the current WSL services. In other words, there are no new features at the moment.

Windows 11 Exclusive

While WSL also works on Windows 10, it seems the app is only available on Windows 11. That is probably because of the new Microsoft Store that is available on the recently launched platform. It seems this decision may be permanent because Microsoft does not mention a Windows 10 app in its announcement post.

Importantly, Microsoft will continue to support the inbox version of Windows Subsystem for Linux. Users can run it alongside the app version. However, the company says it will eventually transition completely to the Microsoft Store app.

“Our goals are to make WSL in the Microsoft Store the best way to install and use WSL, as you’ll be able to get the latest updates fastest through that route, and in the long term we’d like to move WSL users to use the store version,” says Craig Loewen, program manager for Windows Developer.

Tip of the day: Thanks to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) you can run complete Linux distributions within Windows 10. In our tutorial, we show you how to install Ubuntu or other Linux packages and how to activate the bash shell.

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