WSL September 2023 update brings with it a lot of new features

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) has reached version 2.0. The release comes with a good pack of new experimental features, such as auto memory reclaim, automatic disk space clean up, a new Mirrored networking mode, and much more.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) version 2.0

What's new in Windows Subsystem for Linux 2.0

Experimental features:

  • The autoMemoryReclaim feature allows the WSL virtual machine to reduce its memory usage by reclaiming cached memory during usage.
  • The Sparse VHD feature automatically shrinks the virtual hard disk of the WSL as it is being used.
  • The Mirrored networking mode enhances network compatibility and introduces new features for the WSL.
  • The dnsTunneling feature modifies how WSL resolves DNS requests to improve network compatibility.
  • The firewall feature applies Windows firewall rules to the WSL and provides advanced firewall controls for the WSL virtual machine.
  • Finally, the autoProxy feature enables WSL to use proxy information from Windows automatically, thereby improving network compatibility.

To activate them, create a .wslconfig file in your Windows home directory (e.g: C:\Users\<yourusername>\.wslconfig) and add the following section to the file.


autoMemoryReclaim=gradual | dropcache | disabled

Other changes

  • Store WSL is now accessible from Session 0 (solves #9231)
  • All binaries shipped in the WSL package are now signed
  • Introduce experimental.autoMemoryReclaim setting to %USERPROFILE%\.wslconfig
  • Prompt the user to enable VMP if HNS isn't available on the machine
  • Fix localhost relay failing if ipv6 is disabled
  • Improve error message for WSL1 disabled policy to provide upgrade instructions
  • Fix microk8s scenario for mirrored networking
  • Create shared mounts when init sets up the distro namespace (solves #10410)
  • Detach user block devices before terminating the VM
  • Protect '.wslconfig' from being incorrectly translated
  • Add logic to generate a systemd unit to protect the binfmt interpreter (solves #8843)
  • Fix potential wslservice.exe crash.
  • Retry plan9 mounts on IO error
  • Update Microsoft.WSL.Kernel version
  • Display a notification prompting the user to install missing optional components
  • Add --manage <distro_name> --set-sparse to wsl.exe
  • Fix various issues with the 'Update available' notification logic
  • Update WSLg to 1.0.57
    • WSL GUI apps now have Windows snapping with the keyboard (Press WIN + an arrow key to snap to the side)
  • Update MSRDC to 1.2.4485


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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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