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openSUSE for WSL


WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) is a special interface of the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system that allows to run Linux user space programs on top of the Windows kernel. In a sense similar to how a chroot or containers work on Linux.

Enabling WSL on Windows 10

WSL is not enabled by default on Windows 10. It needs to be installed explicitly for WSL apps to work. There are two ways to enable WSL:

Command Line

Open a command prompt (cmd.exe) as administrator and run the following command:

dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux /all /norestart

Control Panel

  1. Open Control Panel (Start > Windows System > Control Panel).
  2. If you see eight to ten items: Click the "View by:" drop-down box and select, "Small icons."
  3. Open "Programs and Features."
  4. Click the "Turn Windows features on or off" hyperlink.
  5. In the Windows Features window, check "Windows Subsystem for Linux." The list is alphabetized, so it should appear near the bottom.
  6. Click the OK button to close the Windows Features Window.
  7. Close the Control Panel.
  8. Restart your computer (Required).

Enabling WSL2

To enable WSL2 you need to be on Windows 10 version 2004, Build 19041 or higher.

Open a Power Shell as administrator and run the following command:

wsl --set-default-version 2

You may see the following warning:

WSL 2 requires an update to its kernel component. For information please visit

If so follow the link to download and install the WSL2 Kernel package Once installed run the above command again

Enabling GUI support

gvim running from WSL on Windows 11

Please follow the WSLg instructions prior to going any further. A system without WSLg enabled would mostly complain about the "DISPLAY" variable not being set Based on the time when you try this you may or may not need to join the Insider program to access the feature.

Users should install our wsl_gui pattern which will fetch all required dependencies.

 zypper in -t pattern wsl_gui

These additional patterns are also available and can be installed in the same way:


Installing openSUSE on WSL

From App Store

The easiest way to get openSUSE for WSL is to install the apps from the app store:

Wsl selection.png

The app store also offers SUSE Linux Enterprise versions:

At firstboot, users can choose between registering their SLE install as SLES (Enterprise Server) or SLED (Enterprise Desktop) to suit their licensing needs.

With Appx from openSUSE download server

You can get the appx file from the openSUSE download server:

Now, you need to install the openSUSE certificate, if not already installed:

  1. Right-click on the appx file and chose Properties, digital signatures, select the signature, click Details, Show certificate and Install certificate. This displays the Certificate Import Wizard.
  2. Click the radio button to chose Local Machine and click Next
  3. Chose Place all certificates in the following store and click Next
  4. Click Browse and select Trusted People and click Ok, Next and finally Finish
  5. A confirmation dialog should appear, click Ok

Manually from tar archive

Alternatively it's also possible to install development versions manually

Windows 11 and WSL

  • Installation on Windows 11 is similar to Windows 10, but the experience should be "better" overall. Visit for updated versions of WSL which include features like systemd support.

Installed via an elevated PowerShell prompt with:

 Add-AppxPackage C:\path\to\Microsoft.WSL_<version>.msixbundle

For example, adding/editing /etc/wsl.conf on a WSL distro will enable systemd to function:


Known Issues and limitations

  • The apps unpack a root file system tarball in a WSL specific location in the Windows C: drive. Make sure to have sufficient space there. Other drives will not work due to limitations of WSL!
  • Since the root filesystem is disconnected from the app after installation, any potential update of the app won't actually update the root file system content. The installed openSUSE system on WSL has to be updated from within as usual using zypper patch for maintenance updates, resp zypper up or zypper dup for updates and upgrades.
  • A system in WSL does not actually boot and does not use systemd. A proprietary Microsoft /init binary initializes the system. Therefore service management does not work like in a VM. It rather behaves like an interactive container.
  • If the following error message is displayed when you try to start WSL
 Error: WSL 2 requires an update to its kernel component. For information please visit

Please install the wsl2 kernel update:

Reporting Bugs

Bugs about openSUSE on WSL can be reported in Bugzilla

WSL specific bugs unrelated to openSUSE have to be reported to Microsoft via GitHub

External Links