Microsoft Brings WSL 2 to Windows 10 Versions 1903, 1909

Posted on August 21, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 6 Comments

Microsoft announced that it has backporting Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2 to the two previous versions of Windows 10.

“Support for Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2 distros is being backported to Windows 10 version[s] 1903 and 1909,” Microsoft’s Tyler Citrin writes in the announcement post. “Yes, you read that right. We heard how much you liked WSL 2 and wanted to expand its accessibility, and over the last few months we worked on bringing it back to 1903 and 1909.”

As you may know, WSL 2 is arguably the single biggest change in Windows 10 version 2004, but given the slow rollout of this version, and the fact that Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909 collectively account for over 80 percent of all Windows 10 PCs in use, this expansion in availability makes sense.

WSL 2 will only be available on x64 installs of Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909; those running Windows 10 on ARM will need to upgrade to version 2004. To get it, just check for updates using Windows Update, and then follow the instructions on the Microsoft Docs website.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Microsoft Brings WSL 2 to Windows 10 Versions 1903, 1909”

  1. breizh90

    Make sure your minor build number is 1049 or higher on Windows builds 18362 or 18363. That can be done by manually installing KB4566116.


    https://devblogs.microsoft.com/commandline/wsl-2-support-is-coming-to-windows-10-versions-1903-and-1909/


  2. davehelps

    Makes sense. This is very much a pro/dev/enterprise feature; and many enterprises will not reach version 2004 (or rather, 2010, the next one) for another couple of years.

  3. bill_strong

    I'm of 2 minds on this. Most of the users targeted by this have set Windows to update feature more than a year after release. How is MS going to push this to them? As a security patch? If not, it won't be seen by these folks. If it is, it will be seen by these same folks as an intrusion, and not the behavior they explicitly said they wanted.


    MS is too touchy feely these days, they have to have their hand in every part of the OS, even when they are told NO.

  4. eric_rasmussen

    In the beginning, Microsoft advocated that there was only one version of Windows 10 and that it would be kept up to date. The idea was that it would make life easier for developers, since we no longer have to worry about Vista, 7, 7 SP1, 8, 8.1, etc.


    Now we just need to pay attention to the supported version numbers in the universal API docs to make sure that the version and flavor of Windows 10 we're targeting supports the calls we're making. There's 10, 10 LTSC, 10 S, 10 ARM, 10 IoT. Within those, there's 1803, 1809, 1903, 1909, and 2004. Interacting with the notification center, for example, changes depending on which version you're targeting. What you're allowed to display in your notification changes with the flavor. It's gone from needing to support a small handful of configurations to now supporting a dozen or more configurations. It's also easy to miss that a documented API call is only supported in 2004 or newer - you have to pay pretty close attention to the docs, otherwise your app will get a bad rating because it doesn't run or some feature doesn't work correctly. It's pretty frustrating and I think is the reason why Windows Store apps aren't popular with developers.

    • IanYates82

      In reply to Eric_Rasmussen:

      It's ended up that way but I think they're hoping to reign it in again over time with the way they're allowing some of the UI platform to be shipped with your app rather than the OS


      Certainly by making Windows 10 one continual update you can at least know your consumer users aren't stranded on an old version of Windows which will require $$$ to move to the new version. That often held back adoption of things.

  5. SvenJ

    When are they going to backport it to Windows 7 so those folks don't miss out.

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