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Easy methods to set the default consumer for a WSL distro that has been manually put in with wsl –import

I’ve blogged earlier than on simply transfer WSL distributions between Home windows 10 machines with import and export. I lately did a full recent set up of Home windows 11 and needed to carry my current extremely personalized Ubuntu set up together with me.

You may tar up (zip up) the user-mode components of your WSL2 distributions like this:

wsl --export Ubuntu-20.04 c:TempUbuntuBackup.tar

The half after –export is the distribution identify which you can see from operating wsl --list -v. The final argument is a full path and filename for the archive you need created.

Subsequent, on the machine you’ve got moved to, you may do the reverse. Discover that I’ve modified the Distro identify right here, and you’ll if you would like. Bear in mind additionally which you can have as many Linux Distros put in as you need.

wsl --import Ubuntu c:Linux c:TempUbuntuBackup.tar

The Linux file system is saved in a VHDX (digital laborious drive), normally deep in AppData/Native/YadaYada, however this import is a chance for me to retailer it in C:Linux which will even make it simpler to do upkeep on like Compact-VHD which shrinks your WSL2 disks.

Here is the bizarre half. While you import a WSL2 distro manually, operating that distro on the brand new machine will find yourself logging you in as root. It is forgotten that I am “scott.”

There’s quite a lot of methods to repair this that contain the registry or passing in arguments to wsl, however I simply need it to work once I run “wsl” or “wsl -d distroname.”

Run your distro, after which edit /and so forth/wsl.conf and add a [user] part like this:


That is the perfect option to set your WSL distro’s default consumer for imported tars as a result of it is saved contained in the Linux file system and the setting will stick round while you export/import afterward.

Linux on Windows

Hope this helps!

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, marketing consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft worker. He’s a failed stand-up comedian, a cornrower, and a guide writer.

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