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 🙂 More news on this front to follow!

Comments (24)

  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 😉

            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…” 🙁

  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. 🙂

    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 🙂

Skip to main content