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How to access Windows Subsystem for Linux files on Windows 10

Microsoft added the support for Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows 10 back with the Windows 10 v1607. It made it possible for users to install various Linux distros like Ubuntu, SUSE Linux, Kali Linux and more on Windows 10 devices. In the feature update, v1903,  not only is WSL getting a real Kernel, but the ability to access Linux files on Windows 10 using File Explorer will also be present.

Access Windows Subsystem for Linux files on Windows 10

Access Windows Subsystem for Linux files on Windows 10

There are two methods to access Windows Subsystem for Linux files using File Explorer on Windows 10:

  1. Opening File Explorer from the WSL Terminal.
  2. Launching the root from File Explorer.

1] Using File Explorer inside WSL Terminal

Access Windows Subsystem for Linux files on Windows 10

  1. Open WSL terminal.
  2. Navigate the root directory or top folder inside of the Terminal.
  3. Type in explorer.exe and hit Enter to open that location inside of the File Explorer.

2] Launching the root from File Explorer

This is a relatively straight forward method.

  1. Launch the File Explorer.
  2. Type in Linux and hit Enter in the address bar of the File Explorer.
  3. It will mount the storage for the Linux distros installed on your computer.
  4. The files are visible in the File Explorer.

After you access these files within the File Explorer, you can use programs installed on your computer to execute them normally. And any modification that you make will be visible inside the Terminal window.

WSL has proven to be a boon for all the developers who had to dual boot a Linux flavor to get them needs with the Terminal done.


Ayush has been a Windows enthusiast since the day he got his first PC with Windows 98SE. He is an active Windows Insider since Day 1 and is now a Windows Insider MVP. He has been testing pre-release services on his Windows 10 PC, Lumia, and Android devices.


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