Microsoft releases Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2) to Insiders

WSL 2 is now available in Windows Insiders

Microsoft on Tuesday released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18917 to Insiders in the Fast ring featuring includes Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (aka ‘WSL 2’).

The latest Build 18917, which is from the 20H1 development branch, includes several improvements such as download throttling settings, WSL 2, Narrator improvements, and Windows Ink Workspace updates.

However, the most exciting addition in this release is undoubtedly WSL 2.

“WSL 2 is a new version of the architecture that powers the Windows Subsystem for Linux to run ELF64 Linux binaries on Windows,” Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar writes. “This new architecture, which uses a real Linux kernel, changes how these Linux binaries interact with Windows and your computer’s hardware, but still provides the same user experience as in WSL 1 (the current widely available version). WSL 2 delivers a much faster file system performance and full system call compatibility, which lets you run more applications like Docker.”

Microsoft has also introduced new download throttling options for Delivery Optimization in Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18917.

“We’ve heard from our users with very low connection speeds that setting download throttling as a percentage of available bandwidth isn’t providing enough relief in reducing the impact on their networks,” Sarkar explains. “That’s why we’ve added a new option to throttle the bandwidth used by Delivery Optimization as an absolute value.”

Users can adjust foreground or background downloads by going to Settings > Update & Security > Delivery Optimization > Advanced Options.

Build 18917 also brings improvements to Narrator’s data table reading capabilities – the way it reads out table information on a spreadsheet.

“We’ve optimized the information you hear with Narrator when navigating a table using table navigation commands. Narrator now reads the header data first, followed by the cell data, followed by the row/column position for that cell. Additionally, Narrator only reads the headers when the headers have changed, so you can focus on the content of the cell,” Sarkar adds.

Further, another improvement is a more compact new Windows Ink Workspace, which means it will take up less space on the desktop.

Besides the above, given below are the General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC.

  • We fixed an issue where some users experienced a 0x8007000E error code while downloading the build due to high RAM consumption.
  • We fixed an issue where users couldn’t use the desktop Features on Demand “add a feature” option.
  • We fixed an issue where dragging the emoji and dictation panels was unexpectedly laggy.
  • We’re in the process of rolling out a change in this build to address an issue where if the taskbar was set to autohide, launching the Start menu would first hide the taskbar before bringing up the Start menu.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the Start menu and taskbar going 100% transparent on secondary monitors or after projection.
  • We’ve updated the new File Explorer search experience to now be dark when used in dark theme. Note – this experience is still in the process of rolling out. Thanks everyone who’s tried it so far and shared feedback, we’ll let you know when the rollout expands.
  • We fixed an issue where Windows Security would crash if launched from Settings when using an Arabic display language.
  • We fixed an issue where the audio service might hang on shutdown if spatial audio was turned on.

Known Issues

  • This update might fail the first time you try to download it with a 0xc0000409 error code.
  • For Home editions, some devices might not see the “update installed” on the update history page.
  • For Home editions, some devices might not be able to see the “download progress %” change on the Windows Update page.
  • There has been an issue with older versions of anti-cheat software used with games where after updating to the latest 19H1 Insider Preview builds may cause PCs to experience crashes. We are working with partners on getting their software updated with a fix, and most games have released patches to prevent PCs from experiencing this issue. To minimize the chance of running into this issue, please make sure you are running the latest version of your games before attempting to update the operating system. We are also working with anti-cheat and game developers to resolve similar issues that may arise with the 20H1 Insider Preview builds and will work to minimize the likelihood of these issues in the future.
  • Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly. We are investigating the issue.
  • Tamper Protection may be turned off in Windows Security after updating to this build. You can turn it back on.
  • We are aware of an issue with the Bopomofo IME where the character width is suddenly changed to Full width from Half width and are investigating.
  • We’re investigating an issue where some users are reporting that File Explorer search is rendering in an unexpectedly small area and clicking it results in a crash.

Known issues for Developers

  • If you install builds from the Fast ring and switch to either the Slow ring or the Release Preview ring, optional content such as enabling developer mode will fail. You will have to remain in the Fast ring to add/install/enable optional content. This is because optional content will only install on builds approved for specific rings.

If you are a Windows Insider in the Fast ring, you can update to the Insider Preview Build 18917 by going to Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update and then checking for new updates.

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