WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), provides access to Linux from your Windows 10 system without having to run a virtual machine or dual boot. In a previous post I walked through installing WSL. Now that we have WSL installed let’s take a look at getting it setup and launching some Linux distros.

WSL Color settings

The colors used for the WSL command prompt are hard to see and it’s even worse if you launch WSL from Powershell.

WSL Bash Color

To change the colors for the command prompt run wsl and edit the .bashrc file.

nano ~/.bashrc

Uncomment the following line:


About fourteen lines below that change this line:
PS1=’${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}[\033[01;32m]\u@\h[\033[00m]:[\033[01;34m]\w[\033[00m]$ ‘

To this:
PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[\033[01;37m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]:\[\033[01;37m\]\w\[\033[00m\]\$ '

After you save the file reload it so the changes take affect:

. ~/.bashrc

This changes the prompt color to white. (list of color codes)

WSL Bash New Color

WSL commands

List Linux distros installed on WSL
wslconfig /l

WSLconfig distro list

Change default distro wslconfig /s SLES-15 (replace SLES-15 with the distro you want to make default)

WSLconfig distro change

You can also unregister an installed distro (This will destroy data associated with distro)

wslconfig /u SLES-15

WSLconfig distro unregister

You can launch specific distro by name

wsl -d SLES-15 replace SLES-15 with distro you want to launch

WSL distro launch

Update WSL Distro

Before you start installing packages it’s a good idea to update. (If you don’t you might get this error message)
E: Invalid operation update

Run the following commands to update (Ubuntu 18.04):

sudo apt update

sudo apt upgrade

WSL and Bash

Get a list of bash commands without having to go into your Linux distro

WSL Bash help

Run multiple screens within your WSL distro with tmux
(checkout this great tutorial for using tmux)

WSL Bash tmux

Run Windows executable apps from bash prompt

WSL Bash Winapps

Hopefully these setup tips will help some folks get familiar with WSL.
If you see anything in this post that’s not correct or you have something I can add please let me know in the comments below.