Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) allows you to easily run a virtual Linux machine inside of Windows. The Linux machine has access to all of your windows files, but otherwise is otherwise a self contained environment.

You must be running an up to date copy of Windows 10 or 11 to make use of WSL.

Once you set up WSL on your computer, you can then install one or more Linux distributions to use. There are many distributions of Linux - variants of the basic Linux operating system that provide a different set of base packages and tools. Ubuntu is one of the more popular distributions.

Installing WSL and Ubuntu

These instructions do a great job of showing how to install WSL and Ubunutu linux. (But check the hints below before starting!)

Important Tips:

  1. When you make a password, pick something really easy. You will have to remember it and type it frequently while using Linux.

  2. While typing your password you will not be able to see what you are typing. That is normal - it prevents someone near you from reading your password as you type it. Just be careful as you type.

  3. You don't really need to do part 1 of that guide - it just shows how to confirm which windows version you are using.

  4. When you get to step 2 in Part 2, you should also enable the Virtual Machine Platform: Virtual Machine Platform

Installing Build Tools and Valgrind

Once you have setup Ubuntu, log into it and run the following two commands to install the build tools (g++, make, etc...) and valgrind:

sudo apt install build-essential
sudo apt install valgrind

This video demonstrates how to navigate in the virtual machine and access your windows files from it: