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Move WSL to another location

ยท 2 min read
Markdown, WSL and Docker lover ~ PHP developer ~ Insatiable curious.

Move WSL to another location

By default, the Linux distribution is installed on your C: drive. If, like me, you have a D: drive with almost nothing on it, it can be really interesting to move Linux on that second drive.

To do this, please:

  • Run wsl --list --verbose from a PowerShell console; you'll get the name of your distribution (Ubuntu in my case),
  • From a PowerShell Admin console,
    • Run wsl --shutdown to shutdown WSL,
    • On your second drive, create a temporary folder like d:\wsl,
    • Run wsl --export Ubuntu d:\wsl\ubuntu.tar",
    • When finished, run wsl --unregister Ubuntu and, finally,
    • Run wsl --import Ubuntu d:\wsl\ubuntu d:\wsl\ubuntu.tar --version 2
    • Run del d:\wsl\ubuntu.tar

You will need to do this for every distribution you have installed and if you want to move it.


If you have Docker, you can do the same i.e. move the Docker partition to your second disk.

wsl --export docker-desktop d:\wsl\docker-desktop.tar
wsl --export docker-desktop-data d:\wsl\docker-desktop-data.tar

wsl --unregister docker-desktop
wsl --unregister docker-desktop-data

wsl --import docker-desktop d:\wsl\docker-desktop d:\wsl\docker-desktop.tar --version 2
wsl --import docker-desktop-data d:\wsl\docker-desktop-data d:\wsl\docker-desktop-data.tar --version 2

del d:\wsl\docker-desktop.tar
del d:\wsl\docker-desktop-data.tar

Once done, restart your computer to finalize the move.