EasyWSL Converts Any Linux Docker Image Into A WSL Distro

easyWSL

EasyWSL helps you to increase the catalog of Linux distributions installable with WSL, downloading them from Docker Hub.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a great solution for users and developers to natively work within Linux right on their Windows 10 or Windows 11 desktops.

By default, WSL is designed to fetch Linux distros from the Microsoft Store, but it has some limitation. The catalog of precompiled distributions deployable in the same is the least scarce. The Microsoft Store offers many prebuilt Linux WSL distributions such as Fedora, Ubuntu, Alpine, Kali, Debian, and more. However, many popular Linux distributions such as Arch Linux or Gentoo are unavailable or require you to pay for them.

Fortunately, the cybersecurity company Red Code Labs has created an open source tool called easyWSL, which can be used to convert virtually any Docker image of a Linux distro to boot with WSL.

Related: Windows Subsystem for Linux Explained, WSL & WSL2

How to Use easyWSL

First, you need to download easyWSL. Once that is done, extract the archive and launch the executable file called easyWSL.exe.

easyWSL

As you can see, easyWSL already offers a wide-range of free Linux distros.

To install a custom image, just select the option Specify a docker image, and when requesting a container enter the name of the distribution and the tag to install using the syntax image: tag.

For example, in the case of Void Linux, the image name will be voidlinux/voidlinux and the tag will be latest as shown below.

easyWSL Specify A Docker Image

You should note that after installing a new Linux distro using easyWSL, the WSL installation will not appear in the Windows Start Menu. To launch your newly installed distro, you must use the command shown below.

wsl -d [distro_name]

In our case, to run Void Linux we have to use:

wsl -d VoidLinux
easyWSL Void Linux

If needed, you can unregister a WSL distro to reset it back to default for your account. Once unregistered, all users, data, settings, and software associated with that distribution will be permanently lost. The unregistered WSL distro will be removed from the available WSL distros list.

To unregister a WSL distro, type the command below into the Windows command prompt:

wsl --unregister [distro_name]

Substitute [distro_name] in the command above with the actual WSL distro name (ex: “VoidLinux”) 

In conclusion, for those who like to use WSL on Windows 10 or Windows 11, easyWSL is definitely a great tool. Since these distributions are managed in Docker by the original maintainers, the user is assured that the builds have not been modified in any way.

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