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windows_subsystem_for_linux_setup

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Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

I'll grudgingly admit that Windows Subsytem for Linux isn't bad like I thought it would be. That said, there are several things you might want to do to make it more livable.

Enabling WSL

First, to enable WSL at all (from here), in adminstrator powershell:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

Then, it still being Windows, you have to restart.

Installing distro

Windows Store is a garbage zone. Here's the spell for skipping that part (from here). Just download this URL and double click what you get:

https://aka.ms/wsl-ubuntu-1804

Other URLs exist for other distros; you're on your own for that.

Making it Launchy-launchable

The distro will be installed as an "app", which is Windows 10 speak for "dumbed down program that's treated in special ways that break normal workflows". If you have classic Start and Launchy, to make it work with Launchy:

  • Make a shortcut of the "app", then put the shortcut into the classic start menu programs list.

Update plus basic packages

The default package set is actually not bad. But this will update and install what's missing:

sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
sudo apt install lynx links binutils zip unzip gdb

To get to places easily:

ln -s /mnt/c/Users/$USER ~
sudo ln -s /mnt/c /c

"Open Linux Shell Here" context menu

It turns out there already is one by default, but it only shows if you shift right click. To make it always visible (per here):

  • Download and run "ExecTI" to allow you to run regedit as TrustedInstaller (more privileges than admin)
  • Run regedit using the tool
  • In HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\WSL, delete the key Extended

Run explorer from this directory in bash

I'm used to saying explorer . to open an explorer in this directory. For some reason, this doesn't work in WSL, even if I spell out the full path to explorer. However, per this recipe, you can add the following to ~/.bashrc to restore this functionality:

alias explorer="cmd.exe /c start"

Keyboard scrolling

By default, there's no keyboard shortcut to scroll the Windows terminal. Per here, a quick duct tape solution is to use the following script in AutoHotKey:

#IfWinActive ahk_class ConsoleWindowClass

+PgUp::
Send {WheelUp}
Return

+PgDn::
Send {WheelDown}
Return

#IfWinActive
windows_subsystem_for_linux_setup.1566319519.txt.gz · Last modified: 2019/08/20 09:45 by tkbletsc