Why Windows Admins Need To Use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

Having WSL installed on your Windows computer allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds: You can use the tools, scripts and functions that Windows provides and also get access to Linux-based tools such as apt, ssh, git and many more.

Today I am going to be talking about four reasons why any Windows administrator needs WSL installed in their Windows environment.

Before I start, you might be thinking “Why would anyone want to use Linux with Windows? Wouldn’t that just make things complicated?” It actually doesn’t really make it all that more complicated, especially with the WSL2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux 2). 

1. Security

Being able to switch between platforms allows you to find vulnerabilities in Windows that you can’t find when you are only using Windows. The majority of malware targets Windows systems, so by having WSL you can now use Linux to find vulnerabilities that might be present in your Windows system.

If you wanted to test a Java application from the command line you would have to download, install and configure Java on Windows before being able to run it from within WSL. With WSL2 this is not the case as there is no need for installing additional software on Windows before being able to execute

2. Compatibility

Some applications are only compatible with Linux, but once WSL is installed, both Windows and Linux apps can be run at the same time. This makes it easy for developers to test how their applications work across multiple platforms without having to dual boot.

WSL, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. You are able to compile software on one platform and debug it on another without having too much difficulty.

Using WSL2 gives you the convenience of installing it on your Windows computer within seconds and using the command line without any extra installations required. It also provides access to Linux tools, scripts, functions and writes more about WSL

3. Tools

WSL provides access to additional Linux tools and scripts, such as SSH and apt. These enable admins to do things much easier and faster than they would be able to without WSL (e.g: Creating a directory in Windows vs creating a directory in Linux).

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) provides access to extra tools and scripts on Linux, such as SSH and apt. These allow Windows administrators to perform tasks easier or more quickly than they would do on Windows alone.

For example, if you wanted to create a directory in Windows you would use the mkdir command. However, if you wanted to create a directory in Linux you would use the mkdir command with just mkdir instead of mkdir -p . This means that there are some tasks that are much simpler on WSL than they are with just Windows alone.

4. Productivity

Having access to both Windows tools and Linux tools really enhances your productivity, there is no more switching between the two platforms when you need to run a quick command or use a tool that isn’t on one platform or another. 

I’m sure you are wondering how using Windows Subsystem for Linux could possibly improve your productivity. Well, I have three reasons why it can.

Firstly, you are able to use Windows tools and Linux tools at the same time without having to switch between the platforms. This saves you a lot of time because you can just use whichever tool suits the need that’s closer. Secondly, being able to run commands on different platforms means that there is no need to have two separate installations of an application just so that you can run one command (e.g. Java). Thirdly, WSL provides access to more command-line tools than Windows does alone which enables you to do things quicker and easier than could be done before

5. Scripting

In Windows, you can only run scripts written in VBScript or Powershell whereas in Linux you can run Bash scripts as well as other languages such as Ruby and Python.

What this allows Windows administrators to do is to write scripts that can be run from both platforms. For example, you could have a script configured in WSL that checks for available updates on the Linux hosts and then runs a PowerShell command to install them or apply a patch.

Scripting is also enhanced with the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Windows administrators can now run scripts that are written in PowerShell and VBScript. This means that you can create scripts that can be executed on both Windows and Linux. For example, if you wanted to install updates to the Linux hosts, you could write a script in WSL which will check for them and then automatically install them. This gives Windows System Administrators access to more commands than they would have otherwise.

Conclusion

WSL is an excellent way for Windows Systems Administrators to get the most out of their time on the job. The ability to move between platforms and use Linux tools alongside familiar Windows commands can save you a lot of time, which means more productivity in your day-to-day tasks. WSL2 provides even more features that enhance this system, making it easier than ever before to find vulnerabilities or test compatibility across multiple operating systems. If you’re not using WSL yet, now’s a perfect time to get started with WSL.

For more WSL posts visit our WSL category page.

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