Developer Mode no longer required for Windows Subsystem for Linux

As of Windows 10 Insider build >= 16215, you no longer have to enable Developer Mode (Settings -> Update & Security -> For Developers) in order to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows!


This restriction was first put in place to safeguard non-technical users from inadvertently using a feature that was, at the time, very new and not yet widely exercised. Over the last year, two major releases, and many updates later, we're now much more confident of WSL's safety and utility and want to enable more users to take advantage of this valuable toolset.

You will still need to manually enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux optional component (via "Turn Windows features on or off"), in order to install WSL & its tools, but once installed and you've rebooted, you'll be able to install & run an Ubuntu instance without first enabling Developer Mode.

This change also ties into the new multi-distro scenario we announced at Build 2017 and which will be available very soon πŸ™‚ More news on this front to follow!

Comments (38)

  1. Gavin Groom says:

    Nice! WSL for me has proved most stable. In fact, I cannot recall any serious issues.

  2. Thanks!
    Add more Ubuntu like features to WSL so that it doesn’t feel like we are working on a Windows Machine while using it!

    1. You’ll always feel like you’re running Windows because you are! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; there are some great features in Windows and many more on the way.

      1. zakius says:

        TBH working on windows machine is the greatest part of it, but WSL isn’t the way for me, maybe just yet, I’m still sticking to VMs (and while HV was extremely powerful due to auto startup and auto shutdown vagrant dislikes it so I’m stuck with vbox)

        1. Bash/WSL is for your local developer productivity within an environment that’s v. close to the target environment your code will be running in production. It’s not for duplicating your production environment locally – that’s a scenario which is much better suited to one or more VM’s / Containers.

  3. K. says:

    Doesn’t work on 16215. Installing it from Windows Features and invoking bash results in:
    Windows Subsystem for Linux has no installed distributions.
    Distributions can be installed by visiting the Windows Store.
    here goes URL which invokes Store app but there are not Linux distros available yet.

    1. K. Please ping me internally.

      1. BB says:

        Windows Subsystem for Linux has no installed distributions.
        Distributions can be installed by visiting the Windows Store:
        Press any key to continue…

        lxrun /install
        Warning: lxrun.exe is only used to configure the legacy Windows Subsystem for Linux distribution.
        Distributions can be installed by visiting the Windows Store:

        — Beta feature —
        This will install Ubuntu on Windows, distributed by Canonical and licensed under its terms available here:

        Type “y” to continue:

      2. MJ Miller says:

        Any solution for those of us external? WSL isn’t in the store yet, at least not in the public store.

        1. Looks like we had to release the blocks on our new WSL features for build scheduling & timing reasons. Blog post on the way, but for now, the work-around is to run `lxrun /install` from Cmd/PowerShell.

          1. AB says:

            Is Ubuntu Linux Distribution supported on Atom Z8530 CPU

            My ASUS Transformer Lite (Atom Processor Z8530) is running Windows Build 16125 home
            Installing OpenSUSE 42 from windows store on ASUS Transformer Lite gives ‘unsupported’ error.

          2. So long as you’re running an x64 build of Windows 10 >= 16215+, you should be able to run WSL. If you keep seeing issues please email me: richturn at you know

          3. ALEX BALCANQUALL says:

            Any update on when the packages will be in the store?

          4. Alex – long time no speak πŸ˜‰

            We’re working with the distro partners to finalize packages as I type. Hoping to have them in the store in the next week or two.

      3. Christian says:

        Same for me… Is there a solution available yet?

        1. sarah says:

          Hi! i wish i had seen these comments a few days ago… build 16215 here and just saw the workaround posted yesterday.

    2. Nolan says:

      Same. Can’t install Bash on 16215 because of this…

    3. I’m also having this issue with build 16215 – running bash.exe results in the “Windows Subsystem for Linux has no installed distributions…” πŸ™

  4. Ian Barker says:

    Excellent news! Now all I want is it to be on server versions of Windows too. Yes, I *know* I could have a Linux server but I want the best of both worlds. πŸ™‚

    1. We are working on bringing WSL to server for remote admin scenarios, not for hosting production server workloads (e.g. MySQL, etc.). Details to follow once the plan is more concrete.

  5. Gatak says:

    Was that ever an issue for anyone?

  6. Michael says:

    I can’t express how excited I am that you (the Windows team) has not only included this feature (Linux subsystem without the need for virtual machines), but also that you’re actively working on it! Thank you so much! I know this is an older, legacy project that could have been left to die in the recycle bin of forgotten efforts.

    All the machines at work are exclusively *nix — workstations are Ubuntu, while the servers are RHEL and CentOS — whereas almost everyone with whom we conduct business (mainly government) uses Windows. At home, I like to use my Ubuntu partition to keep myself up-to-date, but now I can use the exact same CLI I use at work while still enjoying the wider range of applications available to Windows without the need to constantly reboot to a different partition!

    Thank you, guys. Keep up the awesome work — stuff like this really makes life easier!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Michael, and for sharing your use-case. Delighted our toil is making your life easier & more fun πŸ™‚

      1. Razaul Karim says:

        Windows Subsystem for Linux has no installed distributions.
        Distributions can be installed by visiting the Windows Store:
        Press any key to continueΒ…

        1. We’re working with our distro partners to finalize their store packages. In the meantime, please install a “legacy” Ubuntu instance using `lxrun /install` from Cmd/PowerShell. Thanks for your patience.

          1. mark says:

            I have a slightly different use case. I have been using Linux since almost 15 years by now and have no real need for windows – except that recently, for various reasons, I had to use win10 on a laptop.

            Thing is, I can not only get ubuntu or probably soon other distributions; but more importantly, I can compile stuff from source too via gcc (and perhaps llvm, I have not yet tried); and all my scripts that I have written in the last 15 years will also work for the most part (probably need some tweaking but no problem there).

            I can access windows filesystem under /mnt/c/ and I can start .exe files from there, too – I just tried with notepad++.exe

            I still have some massive reservations about Microsoft as company πŸ˜‰ but I also have to admit – the *nix subsystem is really really good.

            Some people may wonder “why not use a virtualVM or why not use colinux, msys, cygwin etc…” and all of these are valid points – BUT, for me, this was the simplest thing so far. I don’t have to fiddle much at all with anything at all, it just works (ok, ubuntu did the base there via dpkg + apt-get/apt, but I just use it to bootstrap). Even xorg applications work – not all of them… I could not get gnome-terminal to start, neither kde-konsole, but I got gvim to start (via xming), also mate-terminal (!!!!) so now I have a better terminal. Yakuake started but unfortunately behaves oddly… I suppose all the latter may also work sooner or later (when I can figure out the weird dbus error …). So again – I have to agree, that was really a hero work by the team that enabled this.

            I hope to see more comments about tips/tricks; and also every once in a while WHY it works. Because obviously there must be quite a lot of code in place that tempts to keep things consistent, API-wise and so forth.

          2. Many thanks for sharing your perspectives & experience.

            Re. Microsoft: As I keep saying, “This ain’t your Dad’s Microsoft”. There’s lots yet to fix, but this place has improved massively in practically every dimension over the last few years, as I’ve come to learn since returning to the company after 6 years in “The Real World”. πŸ™‚

            Re. WSL: To learn more, you may be interested in watching/listening/reading some of the content I’ve collected in our “Learn About Bash on Windows Subsystem For Linux” page. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

  7. Michael Ludgate says:

    I’ve read elsewhere the next stage is to execute ‘bash’ from the command prompt. As soon as you do this the message is:
    — Beta feature —
    This will install Ubuntu on Windows, distributed by Canonical
    and licensed under its terms available here:

    In order to use this feature you must have Developer Mode enabled.
    Press any key to continue…

    So, is there another way to proceed or is it back to enabling developer mode [Version 10.0.15063]

    1. Until distro’s appear in the store (Ubuntu is on the way and should be in the store v. soon now), you can install using the current/legacy mechanism using `lxrun \install`

  8. Dominic Lemire says:

    Has anyone else tried to enable it without developer mode? I’m on 1703 and I can enable the feature checkbox without developer mode, but (after rebooting) bash.exe still tells me “In order to use this feature you must have Developer Mode enabled.”

    Is it only working with the upcoming multi-distro packages?

    1. Please read the blog post. The first line states: “As of Windows 10 Insider build >= 16215…“.

      1703 is build 15063 and therefore was released prior to 16215. To run without developer mode, you’ll need to upgrade to an Insider build >= 16215.

  9. Matt Woolery says:

    Is it possible to install without the Windows Store? I believe my company has disabled installations via the store (the GET button is grayed out). I have WSL installed, just need a distro to download.

    1. We will be publishing details of how to side-load distros in the future, though I would encourage you to work with your company to create their own enterprise store through which they can publish approved apps. The reason for this is that without Store access, you won’t receive regular and timely patches, updates, etc. when installing a new distro instance.

  10. Anthony says:

    it is now required, again, for version 1703

    1. 1703 is Creators Update. WSL required Developer Mode in Creators Update.

      This restriction is removed in build #16215 & Insiders builds leading up to (and including) Fall Creators Update.

  11. Michael J says:

    Confused. Do I first uninstall the Ubuntu subsystem from the windows store and then try the workaround lxrun /install?

    1. The legacy distro and store distro’s are completely independent and can co-exist side by side if you wish. Once you’re done moving your files to your new store distro, however, you can delete the legacy distro using `lxrun /uninstall /full` and free-up some disk space.

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