Fix: windows subsystem for Linux has no installed distributions

Windows subsystem (WSL) is an interesting feature of the Windows operating system to install Linux distributions. These distributions include Ubuntu, Arch Linux, OpenSUSE, Kali, and Debian.

While working with WSL, an error comes across “windows subsystem for Linux has no installed distributions”.

This guide will provide the reasons and multiple solutions to resolve the error.

Let’s start with the first reason.

Reason: No Linux Distribution Installed

One of the major reasons for generating errors is that the windows subsystem is not properly installed in the Windows operating system. Therefore, it does not recognize Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, etc.:

Solution 1: Install Linux Distribution

Another possible solution that can resolve the error is made through installing the specific Linux distribution. For instance, install one of the Linux distributions named Ubuntu by executing the below script:

> wsl --install --d Ubuntu

Reboot System

It is required for restarting the system to apply all accommodations in the operating system:

> Reboot

Check the Installed Linux Distribution

To verify the installed Linux distribution, use the following command in CMD:

> wsl -l

Optional: Check the Available Linux Distributions

You can also check the list of those distributions that can be installed in the windows subsystem. To do so, execute the below script that enlisted the valid distributions of wsl:

> wsl - list - online

All these distributions can be installed.

Solution 2: Upgrade WSL Environment for Linux (WSL 2)

A solution can be possible to encounter the above error through upgrading WSL in the Windows operating system. To upgrade the Linux distributions in the WSL, access the “Command Prompt” as an administrator mode by following the below figure:

Upgrade WSL Environment

It navigates to the command prompt window on which you upgrade the environment of the windows subsystem for Linux. To do so, execute the below script:

> wsl – set-version Ubuntu 2

Reboot System

It is crucial for restarting the system to apply all changes in the operating system:

> Reboot

That’s how you can fix this WSL error.


The error “windows subsystem for Linux has no installed distributions” comes across when the linux distribution is not installed in Windows operating system. It can be resolved by installing the windows subsystem through the “wsl –install –d Ubuntu”  command in the CMD and upgrading the system via the “wsl –install –d Ubuntu 2” command to install specific Linux distributions.