I was trying my hand at upgrading/changing the kernel manually. I have tried many kernels and wanna know if the WSL2 kernel can be installed in a normal distro before I mess up my installation.

  • 3
    You are trying to replace your kernel with the one provided by Microsoft? Why would you want to do that?
    – Panki
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 8:38
  • @Panki for the same reason that I tried on the exton kernel.
    – kesarling
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


While you can do this, you probably don't want to. The WSL kernel is designed to meet the special needs of WSL. As a consequence, it's designed to run only on Hyper-V and won't contain drivers that are needed to boot on physical hardware. You might be able to get it to boot in a Hyper-V virtual machine, but that's about it.

You may also find that it lacks drivers for things you want; for example, it may not contain support for a file system you'd like to use. It may also be older than your distro ships with, and as a consequence lack important features that a newer distro might depend on.

For similar reasons, Debian's cloud kernels are designed to run only on VMs and are much smaller because they don't need to drive most real hardware. This is great if you have space-limited virtual machines, but significantly less great if your hard disk can't be read or your keyboard and mouse don't work.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .