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Import Rocky Linux to WSL


The Windows-Subsystem for Linux feature has to be enabled. This is possible with one of these options:

  • Since very shortly there is now a new WSL version available in the Microsoft Store, which has more features use this if possible
  • Open an administrative Terminal (either PowerShell or Command-Prompt) and run wsl --install (ref.)
  • Go to the graphical Windows Settings and enable the optional feature Windows-Subsystem for Linux

This feature should be available on every supported Windows 10 and 11 version right now.


  1. Get the container rootfs. This is possible in multiple ways:

  2. (optional) You will have to extract the .tar file from the .tar.xz file if you are using not one of the latest WSL versions

  3. Create the directory where the WSL will store its files (mostly somewhere in the userprofile)
  4. Finally, import the image into WSL (ref.):

    • WSL:

      wsl --import <machine-name> <path-to-vm-dir> <path-to/rocky-9-image.tar.xz>
    • WSL 2:

      wsl --import <machine-name> <path-to-vm-dir> <path-to/rocky-9-image.tar.xz> --version 2

WSL vs. WSL 2

Generally speaking WSL 2 should be faster than WSL, but that might differ from use-case to use-case.

Windows Terminal

If you have Windows Terminal installed, the new WSL distro name will appear as an option on the pull-down menu, which is quite handy for launching in the future. You can then customize it with colors, fonts, etc.


Microsoft finally decided to bring systemd into the WSL. This feature is in the new WSL version from the Microsoft Store. You only need to add systemd=true to the boot ini section in the /etc/wsl.conf file! (ref.)

Microsoft Store

Currently there is no image in the Microsoft Store, if you want to help with bringing it to there join the conversation in the Mattermost SIG/Containers channel! There has been some effort a long time ago, which can get picked up again.

Author: Lukas Magauer