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Linux: Install on Windows Server (without Store)


Below we will see how you can install some of the supported Linux distributions in an environment that does not have a Windows Store. Windows Server for obvious reasons does not have the Windpws Store that Windows 10 has by default.

So below we will see how you can manually distribute the distribution you are interested in to Windows Server.

The system I use is Windows Server 2019 Standard, but the steps below should work on all supported Server versions.

Linux

First we need to install Windows Subsystem for Linux, which is not pre-installed.

Open a PowerShell as Administrator and run the following command:
PowerShell

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

Restart when prompted. Reboot is required to make WSL a trusted Server process.

Download Linux distribution

If there is no Microsoft Store app, we will download the distribution we are interested in manually.
All available distributions are available at the following links:

By clicking on the above links you will download the distribution you want through the browser you use.

Download with PowerShell

To download any of the above distros with PowerShell, we will use the cmdlet Invoke-WebRequest.

Below is the command to download Debian

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/wsl-debian-gnulinux -OutFile Debian.appx -UseBasicParsing
Tip: Before you start downloading the distribution you want with PowerShell you can change the download point with the cd command (for example cd C: \ Users \ Giorgos \ Desktop)

Once the .appx download is complete we need to rename the appx to zip. You can do it manually but also by command in PowerShell:

Rename-Item Debian.appx Debian.zip

Then we have to extract (decompress) the zip file manually or with the following command in PowerShell:

Expand-Archive Debian.zip Debian

Then open the folder and you will see the executable debian.exe file.

Linux

Installation

Open a cmd.exe with administrator privileges from the search (cmd and in the result "open as administrator"). Proceed to the Debian folder with the cd command

Linux

and run the debian.exe command to start the installation. When done, you will be prompted to enter a username and password.

That was it, now you have a Debian system on your Server.

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