Microsoft continues Linux involvement with direct access to files from Windows

Windows 10 on a laptop

Microsoft has announced that Windows users will soon be able to access Linux files directly from their systems.

According to a blog post, the next iteration of Windows 10, coming out in April this year, will enable users to access Linux files from File Explorer and edit them via the command line. This updates the Windows 10 Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

"In the past, creating and changing Linux files from Windows resulted in losing files or corrupting data. Making this possible has been a highly requested and long anticipated feature. We're proud to announce you can now easily access all the files in your Linux distros from Windows," said Craig Loewen, program manager at Microsoft.

Users will be able to get started by opening Linux files in File Explorer and typing explorer.exe from within the Linux-in-Windows window. This opens a File Explorer window, located inside of a user's Linux distro.

Users will be able to access any Linux file, and Loewen added: "This includes operations such as: dragging files back and forth to other locations, copy and paste, and even interesting scenarios like using the context menu to open VSCode in a WSL directory!"

Powershell users will also be able to access Linux files using a newly-added 9P protocol file server. This server contains protocols that support Linux metadata, including permissions.

"There is a Windows service and driver that acts as the client and talks to the 9P server (which is running inside of a WSL instance)," said Loewen.

But Loewen warned that at the moment, this feature only works when the distro is running. Microsoft plans to add support for non-running distros in a future update.

"Since the 9P file server runs inside of each distro, it is only accessible when that

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.