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New Windows 10 preview brings automatic Linux distro installation to WSL

Microsoft’s latest Insider build also marks a switch to the FE_RELEASE branch of Windows 10 development.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20246 is out.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20246 is out.

Image: ZDNet

Microsoft’s first Windows 10 Preview Build under the new Fe (Iron) branch of Windows has landed in the Dev channel, introducing some handy new tools for quickly installing Linux distros in the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) lets developers run a Linux environment directly on Windows without the need for a virtual machine or dual-boot setup.

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With Preview Build 20246, users who wish to install WSL can simply type wsl.exe –install into the command line. This will automatically generate a fully set-up WSL instance of their chosen Linux distribution ready to go.

Build 20246 is available now for Insiders within the Windows 10 Dev channel.

SEE: Top Windows 10 run commands (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Microsoft’s latest Insider build also marks a switch to the FE_RELEASE branch of Windows 10 development and removes a handful of features that Microsoft had been testing with Insiders, including the preview experience of the Calendar app, which the company said would return to its “classic look and feel” in an upcoming update.

Windows Insiders will see a pop-up notifying them of the changes to the preview experience, Microsoft said.

Meanwhile, the updated emoji picker, redesigned touch keyboard, voice typing and theme-aware splash screens – most of which were introduced in Preview Build 20206 in early September – have also been rolled back temporarily.

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“We look to bring these features back to Insiders in the future. As an important reminder – builds from the FE_RELEASE branch are not matched to a specific Windows 10 release,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

It added: “Just like we did back in May when we released builds from the MN_RELEASE branch, we are practicing our ability to change which branch [to] flight builds from.

“As our engineers work in development cycles internally, we may prioritize work being done in a specific branch and may need to move Insiders between branches.”

Elsewhere, Preview Build 20246 largely focuses on bug fixes and improvements. The full list of these can be found on the Windows Insider blog. 

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