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Wsl-Manager is a Powershell cmdlet to quickly create a minimal WSL distribution. Currently, it can create a WSL distribution based on the following Linux distros:

  • Archlinux.As this is a rolling distribution, there is no version attached. The current image used as base is 2022-12-01.
  • Alpine (3.17)
  • Ubuntu (22.10)
  • Debian (bullseye)
  • OpenSuse (tumbleweed)
  • Any LXD available distribution (list)

It is available in PowerShell Gallery as the Wsl-Manager module.


Windows is a great development platform for Linux based backend services through Visual Studio Code and WSL.

However, using a single Linux distrbution is unpratictal as it tends to get bloated and becomes difficult to recreate if configured manually.

It is much better to use a distribution per development envinronment given that the performance overhead is low.

Creating a WSL distribution from a Linux distro Root filesystem (Ubuntu, Arch, Alpine) is relatively easy but can rapidely become a tedious task.

The Wsl-Manager module streamlines that.

What it does

This module provides a cmdlet called Install-Wsl that will install a lightweight Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) distribution.

The installed distribution is configured as follows:

  • A user named after the type of distribution (arch, alpine or ubuntu) is set as the default user. The user as sudo (doas on Alpine) privileges.
  • zsh with oh-my-zsh is used as shell.
  • powerlevel10k is set as the default oh-my-zsh theme.
  • zsh-autosuggestions plugin is installed.
  • The wsl2-ssh-pageant plugin is installed in order to use the GPG private keys available at the Windows level both for SSH and GPG (I personally use a Yubikey).

You can install an already configured distribution (-Configured flag) or start from the official root filesystem and perform the configuration locally on the newly created distrbution.

The root filesystems from which the WSL distributions are created are cached in the %LOCALAPPDATA%\Wsl\RootFS directory when downloaded and reused for further creations. See the Manage Root FileSystems page for more details.

By default, each created WSL distribution home folder (where the ext4.vhdx virtual filesystem file is located) is located in %LOCALAPPDATA%\Wsl