Linux – way of installing Ubuntu (Windows Subsystem for Linux) on Win10 (v1709) without using the Store


The Microsoft Store app is disabled by Group Policy by my university. I have administrator rights on my computer and I was wondering if there was a way of installing Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) directly? Or maybe via Chocolatey or some other command line method? I would like to download and install the Ubuntu on windows without using the Microsoft store.

Note that since version 1709 (Fall Creator's Upgrade), only enabling Developer Mode is no longer sufficient.

Best Answer

Info: I tried this on a VM with Win10 Pro (v1709 & 1803) with stock Group Policy (i.e. as-is with a fresh installation).

That is: turning the Store off in gpedit.msc did not make a difference...

According to Microsoft's "Windows Server Installation Guide":

Note that this answer shows the steps for Debian only. However, everything is the same for Ubuntu, SLES, openSUSE, and Kali - the only difference will be in the name of the EXE (and the URL you use).

  1. Activate Windows Subsystem for Linux.

    • Via the Windows Features GUI: e.g. Win + I --> OptionalFeatures.exe
    • With PowerShell (as administrator): Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux.
  2. Download the Linux-package.

    • Choose your distro. Simply use one of these URLs:
      • Debian:
      • Ubuntu 18.04:
      • Ubuntu 16.04:
      • openSUSE:
      • SLES:
      • Kali:
    • Via PowerShell, run Invoke-WebRequest -Uri -OutFile ~/ -UseBasicParsing.
      • If you do not need the progress-bar, add $ProgressPreference = 'SilentlyContinue'; in the front of the command.
      • Note that ~/ can be changed to whatever path and name you want.
    • You can also download it "per manus" - feed the URL into your browser (or download manager) and you can get it this way, too.
  3. Unzip the downloaded archive and place it into its destination path.
    • Note that you can use any path - be it ~\IHateUbuntu\SLES_WSL, be it C:\Ubuntu, etc.p.p.. It must, however, be on your system's drive (usually C:\) Thanks, @Matt Wenham!
    • Via PowerShell: Expand-Archive <ARCHIVE> <ITS_NEW_PATH>
    • Via the File Explorer's GUI
    • Or via any zipping tool, such as 7-Zip.
  4. Run Debian.exe, which is inside the unzipped folder.
    • For the other distros, you just have to look for the correct EXE.
    • This will now "install" your distro.
  5. Set your username and password.
    • If error 0x80070005 shows up, you need to run the EXE as administrator. Thanks, @March Ho!
  6. It is recommended to update all software at the first start.
    • In Debian & Ubuntu, this is done by running sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade.
  7. (Optional) Put your EXE into the Start Menu.
    • Simply put a hard link of Debian.exe into C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs.
  8. (Optional) Repeat for as many distributions as you like to have.

You are good to go now. Run Debian.exe whenever you want WSL to run.