The Windows Subsystem for Linux(WSL) is a part of the Windows operating system feature and this allows you to run a Linux file system,command-line tools, and GUI apps on your Windows computer. However, a lot of users reported that the WSL is not working or starting on their Windows 11/10 computers. In this article, we are going to talk about this issue and see what you need to resolve it.
Fix WSL is not working or starting in Windows 11
WSL will not work on your computer if the feature itself is disabled, this seems self-explanatory, but a lot of users tend to leave WSL disabled when trying to access the feature. This problem can also be caused if some of the related features such as Hyper-V and Virtual Machine Platforms are disabled. We are going to discuss such kinds of reasons and find the solutions for the said error. So, if WSL is not working or starting on your Windows 11 computer, follow the solutions mentioned below.
- Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
- Enable Virtual Machine in Windows
- Enable Hyper-V
- Launch Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) from Microsoft Store
- Repair the Linux Distribution App
Let’s see all these solutions in detail.
1] Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
It has been seen that when users upgrade their system to Windows 11 the feature, Windows Subsystem for Linux(WSL), gets disabled. So, don’t worry just go and enable this feature and it will be back to a normal state. Follow the prescribed steps to do the same.
- Press the Windows key and type “Turn Windows features on or off” and press Enter button.
- Scroll down the screen and select Windows Subsystem for Linux and enable it. Now click on the OK button.
- Wait for a few seconds, install system files and the system will ask you to restart the computer
and check if the problem is resolved.
Hopefully, this solution will resolve your issue.
2] Enable Virtual Machine in Windows Platforms
Virtual machine installation is needed for running Windows Subsystem for Linux(WSL) and it will allow you to run multiple operating systems at the same using the same hardware. If the Windows Subsystem for Linux is enabled then the next thing you have to check is whether the Virtual Machine is enabled or not. Follow the steps mentioned below to do the same.
- Press the Windows + S and type Turn Windows features on or off and press enter button.
- Scroll down the screen and select Virtual Machine Platform and enable it.
- Now click on the OK button.
- Wait for a few seconds, the system will ask you to restart the computer
and check if the problem is resolved.
Hopefully, when you enable the VM feature in Windows will resolve your issue.
3] Enable Hyper-V
Hyper-V is a feature in Windows Operating System that allows the system to create a virtual environment. In case, the feature is disabled on your system, you won’t be able to start or create WSL. That is why we need to follow the steps given below to enable Hyper-V.
- Open Control Panel.
- Go to Program > Programs and Features.
- Turn Windows Feature on or off.
- Look for Hyper-V and enable it.
After enabling the feature, restart your computer and check if the is fixed.
4] Launch Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) from Microsoft Store.
Sometimes users are unable to start WSL because there are glitches in the installed apps. Therefore you have to update WSL from Microsoft Store and you can launch Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) from Microsoft Store. This way you will not only get the latest updates and new features but also resolve the issue. Now, launch WSL and check if the issue persists or not.
- Press the Windows key and type Microsoft Store and press enter button.
- Select Library from the app’s bottom left of the screen.
- Select the Linux distribution app, such as Ubuntu, then click Launch and hope your issue will be resolved.
In case this fails, move on to the next solution.
5] Repair the Linux Distribution app
The error in question implies that there is an issue with your Linux Distribution app. You are either using a corrupted version of the tool. If it is the case, then you have two methods to fix the issue: repair it or uninstall it and then install it again. To repair the app, follow the steps prescribed below:
- Press Windows + I key to open settings.
- Select Apps from the left side of the screen.
- Click on Apps & features or Installed apps on the right side of the screen.
- Scroll down the screen and select the Linux distribution app.
- Click on the three-dot line and select Advanced options.
- Now click on the Repair button there.
- Follow the on-screen instruction to complete the process.
Hopefully, repairing the Linux Distribution app will resolve this issue.
Read: Fix Windows Subsystem for Linux Errors, Problems and Issues.