Windows 10 includes an optional feature called Windows Subsystem for Linux that lets you use a terminal window to run Linux utilities and access a Linux file system. But up until recently WSL was trapped in the terminal (unless you took extraordinary steps to give install a complete desktop environment).

But starting last year, Microsoft made it possible to access Linux files using WIndows tools. And now, starting with Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19603, you can access your Linux files from the Windows File Explorer.

The latest preview build of Windows integrated WSL with File Explorer, which makes it easier to open files from the Windows graphical user interface and/or copy files to and from your Linux environment.

Windows 10 allows you to install multiple Linux-based operating systems at once, so if you have Ubuntu, Debian, and OpenSUSE installed, for example, you’ll see each as a separate listing in File Explorer.

Other new features in Windows 10 Built 19604 include:

  • Cleanup recommendations in Storage Settings to help you find items you might want to delete
  • Microsoft News Bar (Beta) app which displays news from 4,5000 publishers in a sidebar
  • Raw Image Extension support for Canon CR3

You can find more details at the Windows Experience blog.

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3 replies on “Windows Subsystem for Linux comes to File Explorer (Windows 10 Preview Build 19603)”

  1. This really isn’t correct. You could always access files in explorer. The problem was just finding the path. Once you found the path, if you added it to quick access it made it clean and easy. I wouldn’t recommend editing them in anything other than a good text editor, like notepad++ or something that knows how to deal with the new line issue.

    1. Making Windows 10 more aware of files that belong to WSL should prevent issues where their Linux file attributes are messed up. I’ve had to reset the WSL file system on more than one occasion, and it’s a pain.

  2. We are just mapping network drives to the explorer to access the Linux folders. Will this now get less cumbersome?

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