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Vagrant and Windows Subsystem for Linux
other-wsl
An overview of using Vagrant on Windows within the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

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:

* `VAGRANT_WSL_WINDOWS_ACCESS_USER` - Override current Windows username
* `VAGRANT_WSL_DISABLE_VAGRANT_HOME` - Do not modify the `VAGRANT_HOME` variable
* `VAGRANT_WSL_WINDOWS_ACCESS_USER_HOME_PATH` - Custom Windows system home path

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
```