How to install Linux on Windows 10 and Windows 11 ?

Although Windows is the computer operating system with the largest market share, Linux has been on a steady rise. Today, it is preferred to windows by some developers due to the coding flexibility it offers. However, one major change with using Linux OS is in setting it up in the first place. Installing Linux is not as straightforward as installing Windows or macOS, for example. As a result, we have put together this article to walk you through how to install Linux on Windows 10 and Windows 11.

What is Linux used for?

Linux is a computer program used as an embedded operating system. Today, its application cuts across programming and coding, household appliances, network file system appliances, and other automotive entertainment systems. Just like a Windows operating system, you can do everything like browsing the web, sending mail, and setting up a network among others.

There are three major approaches you can take to run Linux on your Windows 10 or 11. You can either choose to:

  • Install Linux on Windows Subsystem for Linux or WSL (running Linux commands on windows).
  • Install and run Linux directly from a USB stick.
  • Run Linux from a virtual machine (software that can create a virtual environment within your PC).
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We would discuss them later in this article.

How Can I Install Linux on Windows 10 and Windows 11?

Now, let’s take a look at the different means you can install Linux on Windows 10 and 11.

1. Install and Run Linux on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

The Windows Subsystem for Linux or WSL is an environment that is created on Windows operating systems. Basically, it helps you run the Linux environment on your Windows 10 and 11. WSL includes necessary utilities, command-line tools, and other useful applications.

linux on windows

The downside is that you won’t get the default GNOME GUI that you would when you install Linux on Windows using other methods.

The minimum requirements for your system to use this method include:

  • It must be a 64-bit operating system.
  • You must be running a Windows 10 build 14,393 edition and above.
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Follow the steps below to install Linux on Windows 10 or 11:

  • Type "windows features” on the search bar on your start menu and press enter.
  • On the windows features, select the "Turn Windows Features on or off” feature.
  • Scroll down to the "Windows Subsystem for Linux,” select the checkbox and click on “OK.”
  • Windows would install the WSL files after which you should reboot your PC.
  • After reboot, launch the command prompt by typing "cmd” on your start menu search bar.
  • Proceed to install the Linux Environment on your windows by visiting This would redirect you to the Microsoft store where you can select your preferred Linux distribution (e.g. Ubuntu).
  • Click on “get” and finally install. On completion, click launch.
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2. Install and run Linux directly from a USB stick

This method would both install Lixus with a complete feel of the GNOME GUI that comes with it. For this process, all you need to do is install Linux from a bootable ISO installation media.

Follow the steps below:

  • Download the Linux distribution ISO file (e.g. Ubuntu from a trusted source).
  • Create a Linux bootable USB Drive using the Linux ISO file and your preferred program (e.g. Rufus).
  • The Linux distribution ISO file would be copied to the bootable drive, after which you can close the program.
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Finally, whenever you need to run Linux from your PC, simply plug in the USB drive before powering on your computer. Your computer would then boot up from the USB drive instead of your hard disk, and you’d be taken to the Linux installation menu. Click on “Try Ubuntu.”

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What is Linux operating system ?

3. Run Linux from a virtual machine

This third option is one of the most loved by developers and users of Linux. It involves you running Linux on your computer by creating a virtual environment. This way, you can run a computer within your computer. Follow the steps below:

  • Download and install VirtualBox from their official website. Also, download a Linux (e.g. Ubuntu) ISO file.
  • Run virtual box and select “new” from the taskbar.
  • Fill out the necessary details and click next.
  • Select the "Create a virtual hard disk now” and click on create.
  • In the next dialog box, select "VDI (VirtualBox Disc Image)” and click next.
  • Select "Dynamically allocated” in the following dialog and select next.
  • Select the size that your virtual hard drive would have and click create.
  • The final step is to launch the VM, select the Linux ISO file and choose start to run.
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You can install and run Linux on Windows 10 or 11 using any of the steps above. The one you opt for is down to you.