Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) lets developers install a Linux distribution (such as Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Kali, Debian, Arch Linux, etc) and use Linux applications, utilities, and Bash command-line tools directly on Windows, unmodified, without the overhead of a traditional virtual machine or dualboot setup.

WSL is essential on a Windows machine for me to retain my sanity.


Tips and Tricks


WSLShortcut is a really useful tool for a WSL install, allowing you to invoke commands in WSL from outside it. This is especially useful for something like Git, so that you can have it set up inside WSL and then use WSLShortcut to access it from outside, rather than needing to authenticate twice and manage two SSH keys.

To use it:

  1. Rename WslShortcut.exe to desired command name, e.g. git.exe, node.exe, ls.exe etc. You can make a renamed copy for every command you want.
  2. Place this executable(s) to some PATH directory ( Windows, System32 or make your own)
  3. Now you can run it directly in cmd (e.g. git status, node -v, ls -la), and VSCode should find things like git or node automatically.


wslu is a great set of utilities for WSL, including things like creating desktop shortcuts, opening links from inside WSL on your default Windows browser automatically, and more.