The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) allows you to run Linux command-line tools on the Windows 10 operating system. While WSL wasn’t available in the early versions of Windows 10, anyone can use it because it requires an app to be installed from the Microsoft Store rather than a specific version of Windows. All you need is a compatible version of Windows that has the option to enable it.

Linux has been available as a virtual machine for years already, but virtual machines have never been great tools to use because they take up so much of the computer’s resources when they run. For instance, it’s not uncommon for people to run a virtual machine and find out that it’s using up most of the computer’s RAM or even CPU when they open Task Manager. The WSL requires much fewer resources and thus is friendlier to run.

WSL is intended to be mostly a tool for developers. In particular, web developers and those who work with open source projects. WSL allows developers to use bash, common Linux tools, and Linux first tools (such as Python) on Windows.

Before you can think about using Windows Subsystem for Linux, you’ll need to enable it on the computer first. It’s not a feature that comes automatically enabled on Windows 10 operating system versions to date.

The following tutorial demonstrates how to enable and disable the Windows Subsystem for Linux when you’re using a version of the Windows 10 operating system.