How to Check WSL Distribution Versions

If you’re using Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on your computer, it’s important to know which version you are using. WSL has two versions: WSL 1 and WSL 2, and they have some differences that might be relevant to your workflow. For example, WSL 2 allows the use of Docker, while WSL 1 does not.

In this post, we’ll show you how to check the version of your WSL in just a few simple steps.

Checking Installed WSL Distro Versions

To check WSL distribution versions installed on a computer, open a PowerShell terminal and run the following:

# check wsl version
wsl -l -v

This will list all the Linux distributions you have installed on your computer, including their WSL version. The output should look something like this:

How to Check WSL Version

In this example, we can see that the default WSL distro (indicated by the star next to the name) is running WSL 2 with a WSL 1 Ubuntu instance installed too.

That’s all you need to do to check the version of your Windows Subsystem for Linux. It’s generally recommended to use the latest version of WSL, which is currently WSL 2, but there may be certain situations where you might prefer to use WSL 1. If you want to learn more about the differences between WSL 1 and WSL 2, you can refer to the Microsoft documentation.

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