Category: Windows 10

Installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux

Software Used
Windows 10 Professional Version 1607 Build 14985.1000

I love Linux, in all its cranky glory.  I don’t run GUIs with it – I’m mostly lost within X and generally just script everything I want to do.  I have a separate server in my basement/furnace room that I SSH to (thus the lack of GUIs) which serves as my media server, running Plex.  Over time it’s had duty after duty but thanks to the Windows Subsystem for Linux I can probably retire one of those duties:  acting as a proxy for applications I can’t install on Windows.

So, to start, we have to turn on Developer Mode for your copy of Windows 10.  This is done by visiting the Settings app.

Once there, click on Update & Security.

Towards the bottom of the left hand menu that appears you’ll find a For developers option.  Click that.

Select Install any signed and trusted app and use advanced development features from the screen which shows up.

Close out of the Update & Security screen and return to the Start menu.  Search for Windows Features and click the option which appears:

Scroll down the list until you find Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta).  Check the box, then click OK.

It’s going to inform you that you have to reboot your computer to continue.  Make peace with your running applications, reboot, and return here when you’re back online.

Once you’ve back online, use the Start Menu to open a Command Prompt.

At the command prompt (which, surprisingly doesn’t require administrator privileges) type bash.  You’ll be prompted for a y to continue installing Ubuntu on Windows.  Hit y and continue.

The application will begin to download around 1GB from the Windows Store.  (At reduced speeds; not sure if there’s a limiter in the WSL network system.)  When it’s finished it will then begin to extract the file which takes a good bit of time.

After this it’s going to ask you for a UNIX username and a UNIX password.  These are completely separate from your Windows account; the UNIX password should be something you’re comfortable typing repeatedly as it will be your gateway to sudo.

At this point you’re free to try whatever you want that you couldn’t do on Windows but could do on Linux.  Be aware that we’re not running Linux – the Windows Subsystem for Linux is providing an API that the applications are consuming.  It’s basically a compatibility shim between the Windows API and Linux applications.

My understanding is that IPC is broken because sockets and dbus aren’t implemented in the WSL.  There’s a workaround that uses TCP/IP but it’s unstable.

Still, there’s an awful lot we can run now that wasn’t runnable before.  And there’s folks pushing the limits even on that.

Windows Insider Preview Build 14986

I just received Windows Insider Preview Build 14986 for Windows 10.

Looking over the release notes, they can be summarized as:

  • You can now shutdown your computer with Cortana.
  • You can now change the volume of your system with Cortana.
  • You can use Cortana to control iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio.
  • You can ask Cortana “what’s playing?”
  • Chinese support was added to Cortana’s music recognition.
  • Cortana now has a full screen screensaver when your PC is idle.
  • Cortana now supports signing in with Azure Active Directory (AAD) identity.
  • Enterprise Cloud Printers discovery UI enables corporate users to discover printers on Azure Active Directory joined devices.
  • Windows Game Bar now has support for 19 additional games.
  • You can now resume resume previous screen sketches.
  • There are updated Ink Flyout Visuals.
  • Finer control over ruler rotation.
  • The cursor will no longer be shown when inking.
  • Three new Edge extensions:  Ebates, Intel Truekey, and Read & Write.
  • Rendering technology in UWP apps has been switched to Windows.UI.Composition API.
  • Narrator can give you more information about fonts, colors, line spacing, margins, and more.
  • Narrator’s Context Awareness is now set by default to 2.
  • Getting advanced information about the item with focus has been changed to Caps Lock + 0.
  • Issue fixed where Narrator would only say “No item in view” when placing focus on Start menu tiles.
  • A new initial build of a Windows Defender Dashboard is included.
  • Registry Editor now has File Explorer keyboard navigation shortcuts.
  • The USB Audio 2 Class Driver from Microsoft has been set with a higher priority than third party drivers in order to maximize testing of compatibility issues and other bugs.
  • There’s a new option to restart now, schedule a restart, or remind me later when an update has been delivered.
  • Chinese Input Method Editor (IME) improvements have been made.
  • There’s a new context menu for the IME mode.
  • Microsoft Pinyin IME now supports importing and exporting self-learned phrases.
  • Wubi IME has been updated to support user-defined phrases.
  • Chinese (Simplified) Handwriting has been updated to include a Line Mode.
  • In Japanese it’s now possible to remove text prediction candidates.
  • The Japanese IME conversion accuracy continues to improve.
  • The Japanese IME has improved reliability and responsiveness.


  • Windows Hello Face has been improved, and may require you to get recognized again.
  • The Taskbar’s context menu now explicitly indicates the Taskbar.
  • Issue fixed where virtual touchpad left and right buttons might not work on some devices.
  • Issue fixed where virtual touchpad would not launch if the primary monitor was not a touch screen.
  • Issue fixed where Store, Photos, and People would launch on their own if the PC was idle for some time.
  • Issue fixed where navigating to Settings -> System -> Battery would crash the Settings app.
  • Default state of the handwriting panel is now floating next to the text field.
  • Issue fixed where using ~ to switch languages using a Thai keyboard when typing in Office apps might result in a hang.
  • The default user’s numlock setting will be preserved across upgrades.
  • Issue fixed where double clicking an Excel document from File Explorer would crash Microsoft Excel.
  • Issue fixed where Windows Hello would get stuck “looking for you.”
  • Issue fixed where an Insider with Surface Dial would rotate and unexpectedly beep.
  • Save Locations has moved to it’s own page.
  • Issue fixed where Storage Usage for Other might show an unexpectedly high number.
  • Issue fixed where the Powershell entry in File Explorer’s menu would sometimes be greyed out.
  • Fixed an issue where the Clock and Calendar wouldn’t launch when the language was set to Chinese (Traditional) and the system was using the phonetic sorting method.
  • The full screen Settings search results now use smaller icons.
  • Issue fixed where notifications would draw too high or too low, and then be seen moving to the correct position.
  • Issue fixed where incoming notification toasts could be seen if notification banners for that app had been turned off.
  • Issue fixed where the Favorites bar on the desktop would appear empty despite not being so.
  • Issue fixed where the CPU was throttled when idling on certain webpages with many gifts or looping videos.
  • Issue fixed where ALT + D was not able to set focus to the address bar in Microsoft Edge.
  • During past flights of Windows Insider some power settings were lost.  Temporary measures are in place to detect this situation and reapply power settings.
  • Windows Error Reporting logic has been updated so that uploading crash data should no longer interfere with normal activities.
  • Issue fixed where Microsoft Studios games might inadvertently freeze at the splash screen.
  • Issue fixed where if the taskbar was set to always be on top, it was visible on the Welcome screens after updating.

There’s nothing here for me to play with, or post an article about, so we wait until the next flight.  (I will say that the updating process for this flight was particularly arduous, about twenty five minutes.)

How to Switch To Fast Ring for Windows Insider

I don’t often change my level to the Windows Insider preview, so I tend to forget HOW.  This article will serve as my reference the next time I have to change it.

Click on Settings.


Click on Update & Security.


From the resulting menu, click the last option “Windows Insider Program.”


From there select your Insider Level or discontinue your participation in the program entirely.