Microsoft is making it easier than ever to install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which allows Windows users to run a variety of Linux distributions on their systems, by releasing the utility as an app in the Microsoft Store.

WSL used to be frustrating to install because it required users to enable the feature itself, turn on the Virtual Machine Platform it relies upon, install a Linux kernel update package, and then download a Linux distribution from the Microsoft Store. That process was simplified in later versions of Windows 10, however, as well as the recently launched Windows 11.

Those versions of Windows allow users to install WSL using a single PowerShell command. Now there's an app-ified version of WSL available via the Microsoft Store that can be installed with one click. This could prove useful to people who still find command line tools daunting, but Microsoft says this new installation method has benefits for more advanced users, too.

"There are two big reasons to be excited for this change: You can get access to WSL features faster," Microsoft says, "and you donít have to worry about changing your Windows version when getting the latest WSL updates."

The company says this change "decouples WSL from your Windows version" by pulling the requisite binaries from the Windows image into a separate app image. That means WSL users will be able to install updates to the utility without updating the operating system itself, Microsoft says, which should make it easier for them to access new features.

Microsoft says its long-term goal is to switch all WSL users to the version in the Microsoft Store. For now, both versions of the tool can be installed on a single machine, and the company says that it's "going to be data driven, and will be using your feedback from this preview to help inform us for our future decisions with WSL in the Windows image in upcoming releases."