Best Way To Uninstall WSL in 5 Minutes!

If you are someone who is an avid Windows user but at the same time is extremely keen about the world of Linux, chances are high that you must have heard of the famous Windows Subsystem for Linux more commonly knowns as WSL. While this blog focuses on how to uninstall WSL for Linux, we have sections that will provide you with WSL alternatives and so much more. 

WSL is a feature in the latest Windows operating systems that allows a user to run a Linux environment directly on their Windows machine, without the need for setting up a virtual machine (VM) or even a dual boot setup. However, there are some reasons that might lead you to have the need of removing the WSL from your windows device. No worries. We have created a step-by-step guide on how to uninstall windows subsystems for Linux in this blog. 

Uninstall WSL

How To Uninstall WSL For Linux

While the process to uninstall the Windows Subsystem for Linux is straightforward and doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes, it does require multiple steps that include removing the distro, kernel update, and other components of the WSL. 

If you want to uninstall WSL from your computer from the root, leaving no fragments of it, you will have to make sure that you follow the steps mentioned in all the parts of this section thoroughly without missing any bit of it. 

Part 1: Uninstall Linux Distros 

Our first step to learning how to uninstall WSL is to remove the Linux Distros from your windows device. 

Step 1: Open Settings on Windows 10. From the start menu, you can go to the control panel or the settings option on your windows device. 

Step 2: Once the “Settings” dialogue box opens, from all the options look for “Apps” and click on the icon.

Step 3: In the “Apps” option, click “Apps & Features”.

Step 4: From the list of all the applications, you will have to locate the distribution of Linux (most commonly- Ubuntu) and click on the “Uninstall” button.

Now that you have learnt how to remove the Linux Distros from your windows device. You have completed the first part to uninstall WSL. Although, you may have to repeat the same steps if there are multiple distros on your device. 

Part 2: Uninstalling Linux Kernel Update

Step 1: Open Settings on Windows 10. From the start menu, you can go to the control panel or the settings option on your windows device. 

Step 2: Once the “Settings” dialogue box opens, from all the options look for “Apps” and then click on the icon and then, click on “Apps & Features”.

Step 3: Select the Windows Subsystem for the Linux update item from the list of applications and click the Uninstall button.

PS- All of us have tons of installed applications on our system. To quickly complete steps to uninstall Windows Subsystem for Linux, look for “Windows Subsystem for the Linux”, in the search option. 

Part 3: Removing WSL Components

While you have successfully removed the Linux Distros and other kernel updates, to uninstall Windows Subsystem for Linux completely, it is important to remove all the WSL components from your device as they are unnecessary and useless for you at the moment.

Step 1: Open the “Settings” option. 

Step 2: Once the “Settings” dialogue box opens, from all the options look for “Apps” and then click on the icon and then, click on “Apps & Features”.

Step 3: Now look for the “Programs and Features” option in the dialogue box. You will find this option under the “Related settings” section.

Step 4: Click the “Turn Windows features on or off” option and then click to clear the “Virtual Machine Platform” option right next to it.

Step 5: From the list, look for the “Windows Subsystem for Linux” option and then uncheck the checkbox and then click the “OK” button.

If you have carefully followed all the steps mentioned in this section, you will have successfully uninstalled WSL from your Windows device. 

Why Uninstall WSL?

Even though uninstalling Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a pretty straightforward and simple process, many of us are lazier than we think. So, this section is for all those people who might need a little more motivation to do so. 

WSL is Not Required Anymore

If your work with Linux is done and you don’t even fire it up on your desktop, uninstalling WSL will free up a lot of disk space and resources that can be put to better use. 

System Issues

Even though we have been using WSL for years and it is generally considered stable and a reliable subsystem, there are times when it starts creating issues related to performance and compatibility with other softwares within your system. We recommend that you try to uninstall WSL once. 

Start Afresh

If you have become a WSL veteran, you will notice that the years of WSL use have cluttered your windows device with tons of Linux distributions and packages which might be unnecessary at the moment. It is time to uninstall WSL for the greater good. You can always reinstall WSL or use some WSL alternatives to access Linux on your windows device. The next section of our blog focuses on the same. 

Here is a video guide on Installing WSL, if you want it back in your system after you have successfully learnt how to uninstall WSL!

Also read our blog on Best Windows 11 Browser: 4 of the Best Free Browsers in 2022 to experience content on the web in the best way possible!

WSL Alternatives

As we had mentioned earlier, while Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is one of the most convenient, stable and reliable ways to run Linux on a Windows device, it might be not the right choice for everyone out there. now that you know how to Uninstall WSL, depending on each user’s preference, running Linux on a windows device can be executed differently. 

In this section, we have mentioned several alternative methods for running Linux on Windows, each with its own pros and cons.

Virtual Machines

Just as the name suggests, a virtual machine (VM) is an emulation software that allows a user to install and run an entire operating system, Linux in this case, within a pre-existing Windows OS. 

The best thing about using a VM to run Linux on a windows device is that it provides a completely isolated environment for running Linux, which again allows the user to make changes to the Linux system without actually affecting the primary Windows OS

Dual Booting

Dual Booting is another alternative to using WSL after uninstall WSL. With Dual Booting, a user can set up two operating systems by simply partitioning their hard drive to create separate spaces for the primary operating system (windows) and the secondary operating system (Linux) for installation. 

Even though dual booting is a little complex process to set up on our own, one of the key advantages of dual booting is that it provides a full Linux environment, with complete, restriction-free access to all the hardware resources of a computer which makes it a great option as it allows all the Linux applications to run at their full potential, such as graphics-intensive applications.

One issue with dual booting is that users will have to restart their computers whenever they want to switch between Windows and Linux. 

PS- Partitioning a hard disk is a risky process, make sure that you take a complete backup of your system before attempting the process. 

Linux on Windows Through USB

One option that is completely risk-free is the option of running Linux on Windows after uninstall WSL, is to use a live USB. With a USB (pen drive) that contains a Linux operating system users get the ability to boot the OS without having the need to install it on the system.

The advantage of using a USB to use Linux is that users won’t have to make any risk partitions or even divide their resources between their primary and secondary operating systems, most importantly when the user has a netbook or a tablet or any other device with low specifications.

Even though it is a simple WSL alternative, users should keep in mind that using USBs to access Linux on a windows device can be slower than properly installed Linux systems. 

Read this blog on 4 Best Alternatives to Windows Subsystem for Linux if you want to use Linux even after learning how to Uninstall WSL!

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