Microsoft's Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18945 (20H1), which was introduced last Friday, has enhanced many features, but the most important one is to allow the use of WSL 2 global configuration options and support for a custom Linux kernel using WSL2.

Windows 10’s WSL 2 Allows You Add a Custom Linux Kernel and Enjoys Localhost Access

The new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18945 released by Microsoft on July 26 is a boon for Windows 10 users who want to install a Linux-based operating system within Windows, because Windows 10 allows you using WSL 2 to add a custom Linux kernel and also enjoy localhost access to Linux applications.

The Change of Linux Kernel

Prior to this, Microsoft has provided a Linux kernel with WSL 2, which is used by default. But now you don’t need to use Microsoft’s Linux kernel, you can build your own custom Linux kernel for Windows.

Craig Loewen, Program Manager of Windows Developer Platform, says: “You can now use the kernel option in the .wslconfig file to specify a path to a kernel on your machine, and that kernel will be loaded into the WSL 2 VM when it’s started. If no option is specified, you’ll go back to using the Linux kernel provided with Windows as part of WSL 2.”

The Change of Localhost

In addition to being able to add custom Linux kernels, you can also use localhost to connect to WSL 2 Linux applications. Compared to the previous version of WSL 2 released before, you need to access your web application through a remote IP address. This update has been improved a lot.

Because Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18945 (20H1) has not officially entered the market, Craig said, “In the future we want to make sure that you can access your Windows networking applications from Linux using localhost as well. We’ve prioritized Linux apps from Windows as that’s the most common networking use case, such as a web developer accessing their website in a browser.”

Other New Updates

In addition to the above updates, what other improvements have been made to the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18945 (20H1)?

WSL Global Configuration

This is useful for changing the mount locations, enabling or disabling automounting Windows drives, and disabling interoperability. But the WSL 2 distros are all running on the same virtual machine, all configuration options on the virtual machine are applied globally to all WSL 2 distros. This new update adds the ability to use WSL’s global configuration options.

A New Cortana Experience for Windows 10

Microsoft introduces a new Cortana experience in the beta version of Windows Insiders in the United States. This new experience adapts a completely new chatbased UI that allows you to speak or type natural language queries, and its response is becoming faster and more reliable than before.

Microsoft has re-created a new “Hey Cortana” query screen that makes it less intrusive. In addition, Cortana now supports the shading theme in Windows. However, previous Cortana features may not be available. But since this is just a beta, there may be more features added later, and Cortana will be updated in the Microsoft Store.

Note: Make sure that you have backed up important files before updating Windows.
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