Linux's Tux mascot on Windows 10
Larry Ewing

Microsoft is testing a “Linux” option to File Explorer’s sidebar. If you have the Windows Subsystem for Linux installed, you can easily access all your Linux files in a few clicks. This change appears in Windows 10 Insider build 19603.

This feature will be extremely useful for anyone who uses the Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows 10. It’s a convenient way to run a Bash shell and other Linux utilities in an Ubuntu environment, for example. However, these Linux environments each have their own file systems. Accessing the Linux files from within File Explorer and other Windows applications can be complicated.

Microsoft already made it pretty easy to access those Linux files. For example, if you have Ubuntu 18.04 installed in the WSL environment, you can plug \\wsl$\Ubuntu-18.04\  into File Explorer’s address bar to access those files.

The new Linux file integration makes this even easier. Now, there’s a “Linux” option in File Explorer’s sidebar, complete with an icon of Linux’s famous Tux mascot.

A Linux option, complete with Tux, in File Explorer's sidebar

Click it and you’ll see a list of your installed Linux distributions. You can browse its file system like you would any other folders on your PC. You’re free to view, add, edit, and remove files in the Linux environment from here.

Viewing Linux distribution files in File Explorer

This change is part of a Windows 10 Insider Preview build. These builds of Windows 10 are in development, and Microsoft may remove this feature or change how it works during the development process.

This new feature will likely appear in stable versions of Windows 10 in October or November of 2020 at the earliest.

RELATED: How to Install and Use the Linux Bash Shell on Windows 10

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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