Microsoft has announced that not only is Windows Subsystem for Linux — or WSL 2 as it’s also known — soon going to be generally available in Windows 10 version 2004, but also that the Linux kernel will be updated though Windows Update.
The new approach comes as Microsoft removes the Linux kernel from the Windows OS image. The change in update delivery will enable Microsoft to push out updates faster than before, and eliminates the need to user interaction.
Microsoft says that one of the reasons it is making the change to the update process is that it will enable people to ensure that their Linux kernel is kept up to date without needing to think about it. But this change isn’t happening straight away. The company says that people on the Windows Insiders slow ring will have to manually install the kernel for now, but Windows Update will take over in a few months.
Writing about updating WSL 2, Microsoft says in a blog post:
Our end goal is for this change to be seamless, where your Linux kernel is kept up to date without you needing to think about it. By default this will be handled entirely by Windows, just like regular updates on your machine. Inside of the initial release of Windows 10, version 2004, and in the latest Windows Insiders slow ring preview build you will temporarily need to manually install the Linux kernel, and will receive an update in a few months that will add automatic install and servicing capabilities. We made this change now and will have a patch later to ensure that all users in the initial general release of WSL2 will be serviced via this dynamic model, and no one will be left in a middle state using the prior system.
Until automatic updating is enabled, you can grab the WSL2 Linux kernel from the Microsoft website.