WSL Manual Install

Fri, Jul 19, 2019 2-minute read

If you happen to be in a situation where you would like to take advantage of Microsoft Windows subsystem for Linux but don’t have access to the Microsoft store, there is hope. The one largest caveat is that you need to have permission to install the windows subsystem for, without that the rest of this advice is useless, but once you have done that and rebooted your machine you’re ready to move on to the next phase which is find yourself some Linux.


Visit the MS page for the manual WSL process and choose one of the distributions to download. The file will be a MS APPX package (.appx) which is essentially a special .zip file.

Option 1 - PowerShell Install (easiest)

Navigate to the folder where you’ve downloaded the file and invoke it using the PowerShell Add-AppxPackage commandlet: Add-AppxPackage my-downloaded-package.appx

Option 2 - Manual Install (harder)

Once you have the file downloaded you can simply treat it like any other archived, or zip file. Rename the file to add a .zip extension, then decompress that file somewhere on your system. Move that folder to wherever you would like your Linux distribution to live, and then run the executable for that distribution from the extracted folder.


That’s all there is to it. Linux distributions on Windows under WSL are little more than specialized executable programs. Now go forth, find yourself some Linux, and become a cross-platform slider without even leaving home.