Enabling the Linux Susbsystem in Windows 10


If you’ve upgraded to the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition (writing this as of 2016), you have a new way of working with software on your Data Science workstation.

NOTE: The steps I’ll show here should be for your development laptop – as always, back up your system before making changes, set a restore point, use at your own risk, that sort of thing. Don’t do this on your production machine that your office gave you.

If you would like to install some non-graphical (well, some of the graphical Linux tools work, like gvim and so on, but most don’t – yet) Linux tools, you have a couple of steps to follow – this is a Beta feature at the moment, so you need some changes.

First, make sure you have the Windows 10 Anniversary update, since this feature exists only when you have that. From there, click on the Windows iconand then type Settings and open the Windows settings. Navigate to Update and Security, and then select the Developer mode option. That takes some time to download things.

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After that completes, open the Windows icon again, and type Control Panel. From there select Programs, then Turn Windows features on or off. Move down until you see Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta), and select that, then OK.

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That will take some time to run, and when it completes, you’ll need to reboot.

After you do, open the Windows icon and type bash on and you’ll see the option for running a bash shell on Ubuntu in Windows. Select that.

The first time you open the shell, you’re asked if you want to download and enable Ubuntu bash – type y and press Enter.

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The system will then download the files.

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After that process completes, you’ll be asked to create a new (non-Windows) user name and password.

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When that process completes, you’re all set. You can use the bash shell as you normally would – and yes, apt-get works just fine for installing Linux software. Again, the graphical tools…not so much. But that’s not why you’re doing that here to begin with.

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Oh – one final note – your Windows drives are accessible from the shell. They’re under /mnt – so the C drive is /mnt/c.

So what are you waiting for? Install some R and Python and let’s get started!

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