I just got a new laptop, which I chose mainly for its long battery life. It has an i5 8th gen processor and 8GB of RAM. It came with Windows 10 Home.

Now I am intrigued by the idea of having a Linux terminal on my Windows laptop, and am therefore considering paying and upgrading to Windows 10 Pro in order to enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

What I'm wondering is whether either of these two things (upgrading to Pro and enabling WSL) would noticeably affect the performance of my machine (whether processor load, memory usage, or battery usage).

Does anyone have any idea?

EDIT: It is clear to me now that WSL does not require Windows 10 Pro. But I think both parts of this question are still worthy questions.

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    You don't have to upgrade to Windows 10 Professional to use Windows Subsystem for Linux. If the only feature you want to enable is WSL, you can do that with Windows 10 Home, WSL does not use VT-x and is NOT a hypervisor. – Ramhound Nov 27 '18 at 21:14
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    @Ramhound Hmm... I was under the impression it was necessary, but thanks for letting me know. I've been finding conflicting information online. – Matt Nov 27 '18 at 22:18
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    I have no idea what information you are reading but WSL has never required Windows 10 Professional. – Ramhound Nov 27 '18 at 23:36
  • @Ramhound WSL uses a part of Hyper-V for networking (undocumented). – Biswapriyo Nov 28 '18 at 5:23
  • @Biswapriyo - I don’t believe that. It does not match my experience with WSL. – Ramhound Nov 28 '18 at 5:34

No, you would not see a performance decrease for upgrading to Windows 10 Professional, or using WSL. Windows 10 Home and Professional are virtually identical and there will be no performance difference between them.

Obviously, running Linux applications under WSL will use resources.

  • Thanks, I hope you're right. But can you explain how you know this? – Matt Nov 28 '18 at 0:06
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    @Matt because win 10 and home are virtually identical. And wsl isn't doing anything until you run programs inside if it. Also I know this due to almost 3 decades of professional IT experience. – Keltari Nov 28 '18 at 0:20
  • Thanks! The first part of that is what I wanted to know, you should add it to your answer. (Windows 10 hasn't been around for 3 decades, so your 3 decades of experience doesn't necessarily mean you know the particulars of this case, but I wasn't trying to doubt your expertise or anything, just wanted clarification.) – Matt Nov 28 '18 at 0:27
  • Could you add that info to your answer so I can accept your answer? – Matt Nov 30 '18 at 4:21
  • @Matt done and done – Keltari Nov 30 '18 at 4:36

Windows 10 Pro: This version of Windows is mostly intended for business use, coming with features like the ability to join it to an AD (Active Directory), having the Group Policy editor available and other useful things like Hyper-V for running VMs.

I was not able to find any articles saying that Windows 10 Pro performs in any way better then Windows 10 Home. The performance should be more or less the same, although Windows 10 Pro might be using slightly more space because of its extended features (the amount of space used is most likely negligible and below 1 GB with no special features like Hyper-V enabled).

Windows Subsystem for Linux: This is an optional feature, even available for the Windows 10 Home version; there is no need to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for WSL.

It can be enabled in the Windows Features dialog. After enabling it a Linux Distro can be downloaded from the Windows Store.

Installing this feature should not lead to any performance improvement. While using the Linux Subsystem performance may be worse then without it. At the end of the day, it is a program running inside of Windows, and uses system resources depending on what you are using it for. Running a complex shell script will use more CPU time then simply having the shell open and doing nothing.

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