As of March 2018 Debian is available for Windows users through the Windows store as an app for the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

The app gives you a Debian stable command line environment running on the Windows kernel (WSL1) or Hyper-V with the new WSL2 interface depending on your Windows 10 release version. Most of the packages in Debian stable should "just work".


To use the store app you have to enable the WSL subsystem first by following the guide.

Afterwards just install the Debian app from the Microsoft Store.

You will be asked to define a user and password upon first start. This user will also be given sudo rights.

There is a way to install the Debian WSL distro offline & without using Microsoft Market.

Further information about the ongoing development of WSL can be found in the WSL tag of the Microsoft blog.

Advanced Usage

To activate the new GUI apps support you have to update your WSL2 environment to Debian testing (https://wiki.debian.org/DebianTesting).

After that you need to install mesa-utils this will install all the necessary packages for th GUI app support to work.

Most of the GUI apps in Debian should now just work out-of-the-box (e.g., try firefox).


Please use the Microsoft Store review/feedback to report bugs or feature requests for now.

There is a IRC channel on OFTC to discuss WSL related stuff: #debian-wsl

You can also leave patches and issues at the WSL repo on Salsa.

Known Issues

Any software relying on systemd or low-level hardware accessibility might fail due to missing support from the current Windows kernel or virtualization interface. As WSL is a pretty new project from Microsoft improvement can be expected to happen with every new Windows stable channel release (approx. every 6 months). The app launcher will be updated to support stable release features continuously.

Microsoft is preparing GUI application support. The prerequisites in Debian testing are almost ready.

This wiki page will be updated with a guide on how to use this new feature once mesa v21 hits Debian testing.


How do I keep my Debian environment up-to-date

as with any other Debian installation use apt/apt-get to install and update software from the official Debian mirrors (e.g., apt update && apt dist-upgrade)

How do I install a newer release?
You can install the app, change your sources.list and upgrade your install as with every other Debian installation.
How many people are using Debian via WSL?
Approximately 1,021,740 at last count (unique installs according to the Microsoft Partner Center dashboard).

Code & Issues

The full app code and all build dependencies can be found in the WSL repo on salsa.