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Installing WSL2 on Windows 10 Requires Kernel Update And Hypervisor Turned On

by Mike Levin

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Get your ass to Linux! If you’re on Windows, it’s most easily done immediately after the Windows 11 update. But if you’re anything like me, you’re going to stay on Windows 10 as long as possible. But did you know that your attempts to turn on “the good stuff”, i.e. WSL2 is undermined by three separate steps, none of which is that is that easy or intuitive. If you try, you’ll get this error message:

WSL2 requires an update to its kernel component. For information, visit https://aka.ms/wsl2kernel

Translated: WSL2 on Windows 10 Requires These Steps

What’s the big deal? The big deal is performance, network context, real Linux kernel and connectivity between Windows and Linux OSes (file/drive sharing). In other words, it’s a question of whether the Linux you’re using under Windows is as good as genuine Linux (WSL2) or not (WSL1). It’s worth jumping through a few hoops for WSL2.

So what to do? If you search in Google on the error you get trying to upgrade a WSL instance to version 2, you get this incredibly useful bit silent guy:

…but the dummy jerk doesn’t even talk during his video. He just sort of pantomimes his way through expecting you to watch and know what he’s not even talking about. I decided to embed his video here and break it down for you.

Okay, first that shortcut URL is going to forward you to this actual address: Manual installation steps for older versions of WSL This seems like a misnomer because it jumps right into checking requirements for running WSL 2. That does not seem like “older versions of WSL” to me. I think someone’s a little confused. It’s no wonder this stuff is nearly impossible on Windows 10. Anyhoo, there’s really just 3 steps:

Step #1: Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux

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

Step #2: Enable Hypervisor

dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all /norestart

Step #3: Download & Run This Patch

And here’s the step that trips everyone up. A patch needs to be run.


Did I say three steps? Well, also do this. It will make the next wsl instance you create version 2 automatically. You don’t want to go having to convert wsl 1 instances into wsl2, especially if you just went through this rigmarole.

wsl --set-default-version 2

And that’s it! Follow these steps and you can start your journey to getting your ass off Windows too. But you’re not getting off of Windows if you’re not in the process of mastering (10 years or 10K hours) Terminal-based Linux (or Unix).

Follow this dude on YouTube. He seems to know what he’s talking about.