Learn About Windows Console & Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL)


Bash on Ubuntu on Windows has been making a lot of waves since it was announced at //Build 2016 in April 2016.

But as with any new technology, many people have questions including:

  • How does Bash on Ubuntu on Windows (Bash) work?
  • What is Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)?
    • Is this just a VM? (No!)
    • Doesn't this just wrap the Linux kernel? (No!)
  • Where do the Linux files exist on my HDD/SSD?
  • How are Linux binaries loaded and executed?
  • How the heck does this thing work??? (Hint: Magic ;))
  • How do I install it?
  • Etc.

Official Documentation

The official WSL documentation is regularly updated with improved instructions, and documentation for new features as we continue to improve WSL. Be sure to revisit regularly to keep up to date!


The following resources provide an overview of WSL, and the improvements delivered within each major Windows 10 release:

Original Build 2016 WSL Introduction

To help answer some of these questions we've collected together most of the learning resources - docs, blog posts, and videos, below, where you can learn all about this exciting new Windows 10 feature:

This is our original intro video which was published simultaneously with the original launch of WSL at Build 2016.

Note that most of the caution urged in the video above, regarding WSL's initial "gaps" and "missing features" have been remedied in the Insider builds leading up to, and including, Windows 10 Creators Update.

What's new in WSL and Windows Console in Windows 10 Creators Update ?

After Windows 10 Anniversary Update was launched, we immediately began work on features that will ultimately show-up in Windows 10 Creator Update (due spring 2017). These new WSL and Console features were introduced in the Windows Insider builds rolling out of our build labs during the latter half of 2016, which I summarize in several posts on this blog, and in a follow-up video here:

When Windows 10 Creators Update finally shipped, we also released a thorough list of the major changes discussed above in a blog post titled "What's new in Bash/WSL & Windows Console":

What's new in WSL & Windows Console in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update?

Below is some essential reading on what's new in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for Windows Console and WSL:

In this video, Craig Loewen, our Summer 2-017 intern talks about some of the great new features in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update


What’s new in WSL in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update


What’s new in Windows Console in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update


What's new in Windows Console and WSL in Windows 10 Spring 2018 Update (build 1803)




Want to learn more about WSL while you're away from your screen? Listen to the following podcast interviews:

First, shortly after unveiling Bash/WSL for the first time, Rich was interviewed by Richard Campbell & Carl Franklin, of .NET Rocks fame for episode #1284 titled "Making Windows Command Line Cool Again":

Second, shortly after the Windows 10 Creators Update release, Rich was interviewed by Mary Jo Foley, Paul Thurrott & Leo Laporte on episode 514 of the popular "Windows Weekly" video/audio cast show, for a session titled "Bash on Windows" (of course :D)

Deep Dives

We invited some of the key WSL architects and developers to explain the key internal workings of WSL. The result is a series of WSL internals-focused blog posts and Channel9 videos recorded by the inimitable Seth Juarez for your viewing enjoyment!

Note: This list of posts and videos will be updated as we drop new content so be sure to come back once every couple of weeks to learn more!

  1. Blog: Windows Subsystem for Linux: Architectural Overview
  2. Blog: Windows Subsystem for Linux: Process Architecture
  3. Blog: Windows Subsystem for Linux: WSL System Calls
  4. Blog: Windows Subsystem for Linux: WSL File System Support
  5. Blog: Windows and Ubuntu Interoperability
  6. Blog: WSL Networking

Hope you enjoy these resources. We have more planned, but if there's anything you're particularly interested in learning about, pile onto the comments 🙂

What can you do with WSL?

The resources below share examples of what you can do with WSL. We hope to grow this list over time, so please check-back often to see some of the cool things people do with WSL!

Use Visual C++ for Linux to build and debug C++ code on WSL

During Windows DevDays on Feb 8th 2017, Stacey and Rick demonstrated using Visual C++ for Linux to compile and debug an application on WSL! Many thanks to Marc & the team for their help building this demo! 🙂

DevDays Feb 2017



  • 2017/10/17 - Added "What's new in Win10 FCU" for Console & WSL blog posts
  • 2017/10/10 - Added "What you can do with WSL" section & VC++ link
  • 2017/07/21 - Added link to official docs
  • 2017/07/07 - Added podcast links
  • 2016/06/09 - Added Syscalls post & video
  • 2016/06/15 - Added Filesystem post & video
  • 2016/10/20 - Added Interop post & video
  • 2016/11/15 - Added Networking post & video
  • 2016/12/15 - Added Update video
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