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What Where


Some helpful commands:

  • Check for updates: wsl --update
  • List all available WSL distributions: wsl --list --online
  • List locally installed distros: wsl --list --verbose
  • Install a distribution: wsl --install -d Ubuntu-22.10
  • Delete Distro: wsl --unregister Ubuntu-22.10
  • Set default distro: wsl --set-default Ubuntu-22.10
  • Open WSL in pwsh: wsl --distribution Ubuntu-22.10 --user fab1
  • Restart WSL: Get-Service LxssManager | Restart-Service orwsl --shutdown
  • Change distro to version 2: wsl --set-version kali-linux 2*

Note that the root password is set random and needs to be updated using sudo passwd

*This may require installing the following

(New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile("", "wsl_update_x64.msi") 
Start-Process msiexec.exe -Wait -ArgumentList '/I wsl_update_x64.msi /quiet'

Mount Linux File System

List devices (choose the drive you want to mount) wmic diskdrive list brief, then mount partition 1 of "PHYSICALDRIVE3" and open it:

wsl --mount \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE3 --partition 1
cd /mnt/wsl/PHYSICALDRIVE3p1/

Reclaim storage space

Get the name of your WSL distribution. In this example the chosen distribution will be "Ubuntu-22.04".

wsl -l

Stop the distribution

wsl -t Ubuntu-22.04

Find out how much space this distribution is currently using this command:

wsl.exe --system -d Ubuntu-22.04 df -h /mnt/wslg/distro

Get the location of the vhdx file of Ubuntu-22.04:

(Get-ChildItem -Path HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Lxss | Where-Object { $_.GetValue("DistributionName") -eq 'Ubuntu-22.04' }).GetValue("BasePath") + "\ext4.vhdx"

Open diskpart with diskpart and select the vhdx file in diskpart using the path provided and run the following commands:

select vdisk file="C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Packages\CanonicalGroupLimited.Ubuntu22.04LTS_79rhkp2fndgsc\LocalState\ext4.vhdx"
attach vdisk readonly
compact vdisk
detach vdisk

Check the path of the vhdx or run the wsl command to check for used space again to see the changes made.


To configure WSL there are 2 main config files: .wslconfig and wsl.conf

  • .wslconfig located in the Windows %UserProfile% directory to configure settings globally across all installed distributions.
  • wsl.conf located in the /etc directory of the WSL distro to configure settings per-distribution.

In this wsl.conf example, the distribution is Ubuntu-22.10 and the file path is \\wsl.localhost\Ubuntu-22.10\etc\wsl.conf.

# Automatically mount Windows drive when the distribution is launched

# Set to true will automount fixed drives (C:/ or D:/) with DrvFs under the root directory set above. Set to false means drives won't be mounted automatically, but need to be mounted manually or with fstab.
enabled = true

# Sets the directory where fixed drives will be automatically mounted. This example changes the mount location, so your C-drive would be /c, rather than the default /mnt/c. 
root = /

# DrvFs-specific options can be specified.  
options = "metadata,uid=1003,gid=1003,umask=077,fmask=11,case=off"

# Sets the `/etc/fstab` file to be processed when a WSL distribution is launched.
mountFsTab = true

# Network host settings that enable the DNS server used by WSL 2. This example changes the hostname, sets generateHosts to false, preventing WSL from the default behavior of auto-generating /etc/hosts, and sets generateResolvConf to false, preventing WSL from auto-generating /etc/resolv.conf, so that you can create your own (ie. nameserver
hostname = wslvm
generateHosts = false
generateResolvConf = false

# Set whether WSL supports interop process like launching Windows apps and adding path variables. Setting these to false will block the launch of Windows processes and block adding $PATH environment variables.
enabled = false
appendWindowsPath = false

# Set the user when launching a distribution with WSL.
default = 0xfab1

# Set a command to run when a new WSL instance launches. This example starts the Docker container service.
command = service docker start

By default .wslconfig is located here: C:\Users\<UserName>\.wslconfig.

# Settings apply across all Linux distros running on WSL 2

# Limits VM memory to use no more than 4 GB, this can be set as whole numbers using GB or MB

# Sets the VM to use two virtual processors

# Specify a custom Linux kernel to use with your installed distros. The default kernel used can be found at

# Sets additional kernel parameters, in this case enabling older Linux base images such as Centos 6
kernelCommandLine = vsyscall=emulate

# Sets amount of swap storage space to 8GB, default is 25% of available RAM

# Sets swapfile path location, default is %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Temp\swap.vhdx

# Disable page reporting so WSL retains all allocated memory claimed from Windows and releases none back when free

# Turn off default connection to bind WSL 2 localhost to Windows localhost

# Disables nested virtualization

# Turns on output console showing contents of dmesg when opening a WSL 2 distro for debugging