Microsoft Windows may be the dominant player on the desktop, but the rapidly increasing open source software market—especially for admin and dev tools—clearly favors Linux. Not to mention the mobile market, where Android uses Linux variants. If you’re a developer on Windows, the drumbeat to get hip to Linux capabilities keeps getting louder.

Over the years, Microsoft has introduced various workarounds for using Linux capabilities on Windows, such as PowerShell with SSH and Cygwin and MSYS. Running Linux inside a virtual machine is another option. But VMs consume a significant amount of resources and don’t provide a first-class Linux experience, as you can’t edit local files or get full access to local drives, for example.

As the IT world is turning toward Linux for many projects, Microsoft has come up with a new offering to tap into this growing market. Bash on Windows is the answer. Here we guide you through installing Bash on Windows and give you a taste of what you can do—and why you would do it—in the Linux command line.

An overview of Bash on Windows

Bash on Windows is a new feature added to Windows 10. Microsoft has teamed up with Canonical, aka the creators of Ubuntu Linux, to build this new infrastructure within Windows called the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). It allows developers to access a complete set of Ubuntu CLI and utilities. With a native Linux experience, developers can run Linux commands on Windows, including access to local files and drives. As Linux is natively integrated into Windows, developers get the flexibility to work on the same file in Linux and Windows. Simply put, Bash on Windows brings Ubuntu userland to Windows minus the Linux kernel.