Discover the easiest way to find out your WSL version and take your coding to the next level

Table of content

  1. Introduction
  2. What is WSL?
  3. Importance of knowing your WSL version
  4. Method 1: Using the Command Prompt
  5. Method 2: Using PowerShell
  6. Method 3: Using the Windows Registry Editor
  7. Conclusion


To take your coding to the next level, it's crucial to understand the tools you're working with. This includes knowing your Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) version. Fortunately, the process of finding out your WSL version is simple and quick.

Depending on your version of Windows, the way you find your WSL version may differ slightly. However, the basic process is the same for all versions.

In this article, we'll guide you through finding your WSL version step by step, so you can continue your coding journey with confidence. Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your Python programming to the next level, understanding WSL is an essential part of your toolkit.

What is WSL?

WSL stands for Windows Subsystem for Linux. It is a feature in Windows 10 that allows users to run a Linux command-line environment directly on Windows, without the need for a separate virtual machine or dual-boot setup. WSL provides a way for developers to use their favorite Linux tools and development workflows directly in Windows, without having to switch between different operating systems or set up complex software environments.

WSL supports multiple Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian, and SUSE, and allows users to install and run Linux applications, tools, and libraries directly on their Windows machines. WSL also provides access to the Windows file system and can seamlessly share files and data between Linux and Windows environments.

Using WSL can be a great way to improve your coding productivity and take your development skills to the next level. With a Linux command-line environment readily available on your Windows machine, you can use powerful Linux tools and workflows to develop and debug your code, all while staying within the familiar Windows environment you know and love.

Importance of knowing your WSL version

Knowing your WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) version is essential for any developer working with Linux-based software on Windows. WSL is a popular tool for running Linux distributions on Windows 10, enabling developers to run Linux tools and applications natively on Windows. However, the compatibility and support of different features may vary depending on your WSL version.

If you are working on a project that requires a specific version of WSL, it is important to know your WSL version. This information can help you ensure that your code runs smoothly and avoids compatibility issues. Additionally, some libraries or applications may require specific versions of WSL to be installed, which means that knowing your version will enable you to install the right package and avoid any compatibility issues.

To find out your WSL version, use the command "wsl.exe -l -v" in the command prompt or PowerShell. This command will display a list of your installed Linux distributions and their respective WSL versions.

In conclusion, knowing your WSL version is vital for any developer working with Linux-based software on Windows. By being aware of your version, you can ensure the smooth execution of your code and avoid potential compatibility issues. Getting started and discovering your WSL version is a simple process, just use the "wsl.exe -l -v" command in either the command prompt or PowerShell.

Method 1: Using the Command Prompt

If you're trying to figure out your Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) version, using the Command Prompt is one of the easiest methods. First, open the Command Prompt by typing "cmd" in the Windows search bar and selecting the Command Prompt app.

Next, type the following command:

wsl -l -v

This command will display a list of all installed Linux distributions and their corresponding versions. You can use this list to determine which WSL version you are using.

If you're new to the Command Prompt, it's important to note that you'll need to enter commands precisely as they are written. Capitalization, spacing, and punctuation are all important. If you're unsure if you've entered a command correctly, you can always check the syntax by searching online or consulting the official documentation.

In addition to determining your WSL version, the Command Prompt can be used for a variety of other programming tasks. It's a powerful tool for accessing and manipulating system files, managing installed software packages, and running scripts. With a little practice, you'll find that the Command Prompt is an indispensable tool for any serious programmer.

Method 2: Using PowerShell

To find out your WSL version using PowerShell, you'll need to open a PowerShell window. To do this, open the Start menu and search for "PowerShell". Once you have the PowerShell window open, type the command:

wsl.exe -l -v

This will display a list of your installed WSL distributions and their corresponding versions. The "-l" flag is used to list all installed distributions, and the "-v" flag is used to display the version number.

If you only have one WSL distribution installed, you can use the following command to display just its version:

wsl.exe -l -v | Select-String <DistributionName>

Replace "" with the name of your WSL distribution. This will display the corresponding version number for that distribution.

Using PowerShell to find your WSL version is a quick and easy method that can be especially useful when working with multiple distributions. By knowing your WSL version, you can ensure you have the correct packages and dependencies installed for your development environment. With this information, you'll be better equipped to take your coding skills to the next level.

Method 3: Using the Windows Registry Editor

Another way to check your WSL version is by using the Windows Registry Editor. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing the "Windows key + R" on your keyboard.
  2. Type "regedit" in the Run dialog box and hit Enter.
  3. In the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following key: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Lxss".
  4. Look for the key called "DefaultDistributionVersion" in the right-hand pane of the Registry Editor window.
  5. The value of the "DefaultDistributionVersion" key is your WSL version.

This method is particularly useful if you want to check your WSL version without using the command line. However, it is important to note that editing the Windows Registry can be risky if you are not familiar with the process. Always make sure to back up your registry before making any changes.


In , finding out your WSL version is a simple process that can save you time and frustration as you work on your coding projects. By using the "lsb_release" command and checking the output, you can quickly determine which version of WSL you are running and ensure that you have the appropriate tools and resources to complete your coding tasks efficiently. Whether you are new to Python programming or have years of experience, taking the time to understand your WSL version is an important part of maximizing your productivity and success. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily discover your WSL version and take your coding skills to the next level.

As a seasoned software engineer, I bring over 7 years of experience in designing, developing, and supporting Payment Technology, Enterprise Cloud applications, and Web technologies. My versatile skill set allows me to adapt quickly to new technologies and environments, ensuring that I meet client requirements with efficiency and precision. I am passionate about leveraging technology to create a positive impact on the world around us. I believe in exploring and implementing innovative solutions that can enhance user experiences and simplify complex systems. In my previous roles, I have gained expertise in various areas of software development, including application design, coding, testing, and deployment. I am skilled in various programming languages such as Java, Python, and JavaScript and have experience working with various databases such as MySQL, MongoDB, and Oracle.
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