The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is installed using the "Turn on or off Windows features" wizard. After turning this feature on, when invoking Bash For Windows for the first time, it claims to be downloading software from Microsoft Store. Is it possible to create some bundle containing all necessary files for WSL installation and make Windows install WSL using these files in an environment with no internet connection? If so, How?

  • @Ramhound: That's kind of the point of OP's question, though. Does it require Internet access specifically, or can it be fed the same files through another way, pre-downloaded? – user1686 Aug 29 '16 at 13:15
  • According to slightfuture.com/technote/lxss-lxrun , the subsystem (and some .ico file) is downloaded from Microsoft. I wonder if I can trick the system to download from a localhost server holding those two files, using the HOSTS file, maybe. – Shlomi Loubaton Sep 6 '16 at 6:44
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    Use this app from GitHub LxRunOffline. – Biswapriyo Aug 8 '17 at 16:30

Installing a Linux Distribution without internet connection

You can (1) download the installer from the Windows Store or (2) download a distribution file and install it using tools such as lxRunOffline. If you have the distribution file you can make the installation copying the files using a USB drive or something else.

Downloading the installer from the Windows Store

You can download the installers from the Windows Store using Powershell. For instance, you can download the Ubuntu 16 version using the following command

PS> Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/wsl-ubuntu-1604 -OutFile Ubuntu.appx -UseBasicParsing

In the above command, the output file is Ubuntu.appx. It must be named in that way. You can run that application to install the Ubuntu.

PS> Ubuntu.appx

Using LxRunOffline

First, you must download some distribution file. There are many distribution files available in the lxRunOffline wiki.

For instance, to install the same Ubuntu 16 from the Microsoft Windows Store, you can download the file at


Then, you can install the linux distribution using lxRunOffline

# lxrunoffline install -n <name> -d <folder> -f <distribution file>

C:\wsl> lxrunoffline install -n copy -d c:\wsl\copy -f 16.04.2-server-cloudimg-amd64-root.tar.gz

To run the distribution, you may use the same lxRunOffline

C:\wsl> lxrunoffline run -n copy -w

Using a DistroLauncher

You can use some DistroLauncher. There are many versions based on the Microsoft example to create custom linux distributions for WSL. For instance, you can use the Yuk7 version.

You must download a distribution file and the launcher.exe. You must rename the distribution file to rootfs.tar.gz and the launcher to the distribution name you want. Later you must run the launcher as an Administrator (I got errors running it as a normal user)

PS> ren launcher.exe mydistro.exe
PS> ren .\16.04.2-server-cloudimg-amd64-root.tar.gz rootfs.tar.gz
PS> .\mydistro

The first time you run the launcher, it installs and run the distribution. The next time, it runs the linux distribution.

After installing, you can manage the distributions using the wslconfig or the lxrunoffline commands.

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