Earlier this year, when Microsoft announced the general availability of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, also known as 20H1 (19041), it featured a new WSL 2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux 2) along with other useful enhancements.
As WSL 2 arrived exclusively for Windows 10 2004 or higher, we had to update the Windows version to use WSL2. Hence, we couldn’t leverage the power of WSL2 in Windows 10 pre-2020 version.
Now, in its latest announcement, Microsoft says that it has backported support for WSL2 distros to its Windows 10 May 2019 and November 2019 update. This means WSL2 is now officially available for users of older Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909.
However, the backport update to 1903 and 1909 only applies to x64 systems. Therefore, if you are using an ARM64 version, you will still need to upgrade your PC to Windows 10 version 2004 to gain full access to WSL2.
Microsoft also adds that it received great feedback for WSL2 and that the decision to backport the feature to older versions of Windows was to make the tool available to more Windows users.
Users of older Windows 10 1903 and 1909 can now enjoy all the features for WSL 2 distros without upgrading to the latest Windows 10 2004. Subsequently, WSL2 brings a full-blown custom Linux kernel and full Linux file integration in the File Explorer app.
To get WSL2 in 1903 and 1909, you only need to check for updates via Windows Update. If you don’t know how to update Windows, you can follow the instructions from our article that easily explains everything from installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux using two methods and Linux distros to uninstalling it.