Microsoft is currently testing a “Linux” option to the sidebar of File Explorer. If you have installed the Windows Subsystem for Linux on your Windows PC, you can easily access all your Linux files in a few clicks. You can find this change in Windows 10 Insider build 19603.
This feature will be of great use to anyone who uses the Windows Subsystem for Linux on their Windows 10 PC. This feature offers a convenient way to run a Bash shell and other Linux utilities in an Ubuntu environment, for example. However, these Linux environments each have their own file systems. It can be quite complicated to access the Linux files from withing File Explorer and other Windows applications.
Microsoft already offered an easy method to access those Linux files. For instance, if you have Ubuntu 18.04 installed in the WSL environment, you can plug \wsl$\Ubuntu-18.04\ into File Explorer’s address bar to access those files.
Thanks to the new Linux file integration, this has become even easier. Now, you have a “Linux” option in the sidebar of File Explorer, complete with an icon of Linux’s famous Tux mascot.
A Linux option, complete with Tux, in File Explorer’s sidebar
When you click the icon, a list of your installed Linux distributions will be displayed on the screen. From there, you can browse its file system like you would any other folders on your PC. It lets you view, add, edit, and remove files in the Linux environment from here.
Viewing Linux distribution files in File Explorer
This change is part of a Windows 10 Insider Preview build. Microsoft currently has these builds of Windows 10 in development, and it may remove this feature or change how it works during the development process.
It is likely that this new feature will be released with stable versions of Windows 10 in October or November of 2020 at the earliest.