Now, Microsoft has launched a standalone WSL application in the Microsoft Store for Windows 11 machines, which will allow users to get the latest WSL updates and features faster, without the need to modify their Windows version. Albeit, this as an initial preview to help ensure the best quality before making it generally available.
Microsoft maintains that WSL app is the exact same WSL that users are already familiar to and love, all that was changed is how it gets installed and updated.
Why WSL Users should be excited about this big change?
Before now, WSL served as an optional component inside of Windows, which means that users need to avail the “Turn Windows Features on or off” dialogue to enable it, and it requires you restarting your machine.
And the binaries that make up WSL’s logic are part of the Windows image, and serviced and updated as part of Windows itself. But with WSL app, you can get access to WSL features faster, and don’t have to worry about updating your Windows version to get the latest WSL updates.
This change simply decoupled WSL from Windows version, allowing users to update through the Microsoft Store. Now, once new features such as GPU compute and Linux file system drive mounting are released, you'll get access to it right away on your machine without the need to update the entire Windows OS.
How to Download and install WSL App from the Microsoft Store?
Firstly, you should make sure your machines is running a Windows 11 build or higher (Windows build number 22000 or higher) and that the Virtual Machine Platform optional component is enabled.
This can be done by running: dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all in an elevated PowerShell prompt Click on this link to go the Microsoft store page for WSL app and click Install to install WSL, and then you can install any Linux distro of your choice to start using it.