WSL 2, the next-get implementation of the Linux layer for Windows 10, was exclusively available to Windows version 2004. In order to make it available for more Windows 10 users, Microsoft has made it available for two previous releases of the OS.
With release of Windows 10 Build 18917, Microsoft introduced WSL 2 to Insiders, the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2.
WSL 2 is a new version of the architecture that powers the Windows Subsystem for Linux to run ELF64 Linux binaries on Windows. This new architecture changes how these Linux binaries interact with Windows and your computer’s hardware, but still provides the same user experience as in WSL 1 (the current widely available version).
It ships a real Linux kernel with Windows that will make full system call compatibility possible. This is the first time a Linux kernel is shipped with Windows. WSL 2 uses the latest virtualization technology to run its Linux kernel inside of a lightweight utility virtual machine (VM).
WSL 2 on Windows 10 version 1909 and version 1903
Microsoft has ported WSL 2 to x64 versions of Windows 10 version 1909 and version 1903. It is still not available for ARM64 devices running these versions of the OS, so it required to upgrade the device to Windows 10 version 2004 to be able to use WSL2. All its key features will be available, including
- File system performance now on par with Mac and Linux speeds
- Improved System Call Support for all Linux applications notably: Docker, FUSE, rsync, etc.
- Full Linux kernel
- Docker Desktop has added support to use WSL 2 as its engine
18363.1049 are required to get WSL2 working. They are released with KB4571748.
To get this backport you just need to check for updates. First open Windows Settings, navigate to ‘Update & Security’ and click Check for Updates.
After that, follow the instructions here: