Windows 10’s Anniversary Update offers a big new feature for developers: A full, Ubuntu-based Bash shell that can run Linux software directly on Windows. This is made possible by the new “Windows Subsystem for Linux” Microsoft is adding to Windows 10.
This isn’t a virtual machine, a container, or Linux software compiled for Windows (like Cygwin). Instead, Windows 10 gains a Windows Subsystem for Linux, which is based on Microsoft’s abandoned Project Astoria work for running Android apps on Windows.
Think of it as the opposite of Wine. While Wine allows you to run Windows applications directly on Linux, the Windows Subsystem for Linux allows you to run Linux applications directly on Windows.
Microsoft has worked with Canonical to offer a full Ubuntu-based Bash shell that runs atop this subsystem. Technically, this isn’t Linux at all. Linux is the underlying operating system kernel, and that isn’t available here. Instead, this allows you to run the Bash shell and the exact same binaries you’d normally run on Ubuntu Linux. Free-software purists often argue the average Linux operating system should be called “GNU/Linux” because it’s really a lot of GNU software running on the Linux kernel. The Bash shell you’ll get is really just all those GNU utilities and other software.
There are some limitations here. This won’t work with server software, and it won’t work with graphical software. It’s intended for developers who want to run Linux command-line utilities on Windows. These applications get access to the Windows file system, but you can’t use Bash commands to automate normal Windows programs, or launch Bash commands from the standard Windows command-line. They get access to the same Windows file system, but that’s it. Not every command-line application will work, either, as this feature is still in beta.
How to Install Bash on Windows 10
To get started, ensure you’ve install the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This only works on 64-bit builds of Windows 10, so it’s time to switch to the 64-bit version of Windows 10 if you’re still using the 32-bit version.
Once you’re sure you’re using the correct version of Windows 10, open the Settings app and head to Update & Security > For Developers. Activate the “Developer Mode” switch here to enable Developer Mode. As shown in snapshot down.
Next, open the Control Panel, click “Programs,” and click “Turn Windows Features On or Off” under Programs and Features. Enable the “Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta)” option in the list here and click “OK.”
After you do, you’ll be prompted to reboot your computer. Click “Restart Now” to reboot your computer and Windows 10 will install the new feature.
After your computer restarts, click the Start button (or press the Windows key), type “bash”, and press “Enter.”
The first time you run the bash.exe file, you’ll be prompted to accept the terms of service. The command will then download the “Bash on Ubuntu on Windows” application from the Windows Store. You’ll be asked to create a user account and password for use in the Bash environment.
This will install the Bash Linux terminal to your Windows 10. Enjoy the new feature.
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