» Vagrant and Windows Subsystem for Linux

Recent versions of Windows 10 now include Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) as an optional Windows feature. The WSL supports running a Linux environment within Windows. Vagrant support for WSL is still in development and should be considered beta.

Warning: Advanced Topic! Using Vagrant within the Windows Subsystem for Linux is an advanced topic that only experienced Vagrant users who are reasonably comfortable with Windows, WSL, and Linux should approach.

» Vagrant Installation

Vagrant must be installed within the Linux distribution used with WSL. While the vagrant.exe executable provided by the Vagrant Windows installation is accessible from within the WSL, it will not function as expected.

Download the installer package for the Linux distribution from the releases page and install Vagrant.

_NOTE: When Vagrant is installed on the Windows system the version installed within the Linux distribution must match.

» Vagrant Usage

» Windows Access

By default Vagrant will not access features available on the Windows system from within the WSL. This means the VirtualBox and Hyper-V providers will not be available. To enable Windows access, which will also enable the VirtualBox and Hyper-V providers, set the VAGRANT_WSL_ENABLE_WINDOWS_ACCESS environment variable:

$ export VAGRANT_WSL_ENABLE_WINDOWS_ACCESS="1"

When Windows access is enabled Vagrant will automatically adjust VAGRANT_HOME to be located on the Windows host. This is required to ensure VAGRANT_HOME is located on a DrvFs file system.

» PATH modifications

Vagrant will detect when it is being run within the WSL and adjust how it locates and executes third party executables. For example, when using the VirtualBox provider Vagrant will interact with VirtualBox installed on the Windows system, not within the WSL. It is important to ensure that any required Windows executable is available within your PATH to allow Vagrant to access them.

For example, when using the VirtualBox provider:

export PATH="$PATH:/mnt/c/Program Files/Oracle/VirtualBox"

» Synced Folders

Support for synced folders within the WSL is implementation dependent. In most cases synced folders will not be supported when running Vagrant within WSL on a VolFs file system. Synced folder implementations must "opt-in" to supporting usage from VolFs file systems. To use synced folders from within the WSL that do not support VolFs file systems, move the Vagrant project directory to a DrvFs file system location (/mnt/c/ prefixed path for example).

» Windows Access

Working within the WSL provides a layer of isolation from the actual Windows system. In most cases Vagrant will need access to the actual Windows system to function correctly. As most Vagrant providers will need to be installed on Windows directly (not within the WSL) Vagrant will require Windows access. Access to the Windows system is controlled via an environment variable: VAGRANT_WSL_ENABLE_WINDOWS_ACCESS. If this environment variable is set, Vagrant will access the Windows system to run executables and enable things like synced folders. When running in a bash shell within WSL, the environment variable can be setup like so:

$ export VAGRANT_WSL_ENABLE_WINDOWS_ACCESS="1"

This will enable Vagrant to access the Windows system outside of the WSL and properly interact with Windows executables. This will automatically modify the VAGRANT_HOME environment variable if it is not already defined, setting it to be within the user's home directory on Windows.

It is important to note that paths shared with the Windows system will not have Linux permissions enforced. For example, when a directory within the WSL is synced to a guest using the VirtualBox provider, any local permissions defined on that directory (or its contents) will not be visible from the guest. Likewise, any files created from the guest within the synced folder will be world readable/writeable in WSL.

Other useful WSL related environment variables:

If a Vagrant project directory is not within the user's home directory on the Windows system, certain actions that include permission checks may fail (like vagrant ssh). When accessing Vagrant projects outside the WSL Vagrant will skip these permission checks when the project path is within the path defined in the VAGRANT_WSL_WINDOWS_ACCESS_USER_HOME_PATH environment variable. For example, if a user wants to run a Vagrant project from the WSL that is located at C:\TestDir\vagrant-project:

C:\Users\vagrant> cd C:\TestDir\vagrant-project
C:\TestDir\vagrant-project> bash
vagrant@vagrant-10:/mnt/c/TestDir/vagrant-project$ export VAGRANT_WSL_WINDOWS_ACCESS_USER_HOME_PATH="/mnt/c/TestDir"
vagrant@vagrant-10:/mnt/c/TestDir/vagrant-project$ vagrant ssh

» Using Docker

The docker daemon cannot be run inside the Windows Subsystem for Linux. However, the daemon can be run on Windows and accessed by Vagrant while running in the WSL. Once docker is installed and running on Windows, export the following environment variable to give Vagrant access:

vagrant@vagrant-10:/mnt/c/Users/vagrant$ export DOCKER_HOST=tcp://127.0.0.1:2375