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How To Set a Static IP in Ubuntu on Windows (WSL)

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In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of setting a static IP in Ubuntu on Windows, specifically using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). This can be a complex process, but with the right instructions, you can easily configure your system to your liking.

Quick Answer

To set a static IP in Ubuntu on Windows (WSL), you cannot directly change the IP address within Ubuntu itself. Instead, you need to change the IP address in the Windows host, which will affect all WSL distributions running on the same Windows host. This can be done by using the netsh command in an administrative Command Prompt or PowerShell window.

Introduction to WSL

WSL, or Windows Subsystem for Linux, is a compatibility layer developed by Microsoft that allows you to run Linux binary executables natively on Windows 10. This powerful tool allows developers and system administrators to use Linux utilities and software without the need for a separate Linux machine or virtual machine.

Understanding IP Addressing in WSL

By default, WSL manages the networking for Ubuntu. This means that you cannot directly change the IP address within Ubuntu itself. However, you can change the IP address in the Windows host, which will affect all WSL distributions running on the same Windows host.

Checking Current Network Configuration

Before making any changes, it’s important to check your current network configuration. Open the Ubuntu terminal in WSL and run the command ip addr show. This command will display the network interfaces and their assigned IP addresses.

Changing the IP Address in Windows

To change the IP address in Windows, you will need to open a Command Prompt or PowerShell window with administrator privileges. This can be done by right-clicking on the Command Prompt or PowerShell icon and selecting ‘Run as administrator’.

Once you have an administrative command prompt open, you can use the netsh command to modify the IP address of the virtual network adapter used by WSL. The netsh command is a powerful command-line scripting utility that allows you to, either locally or remotely, display or modify the network configuration of a computer that is currently running.

For example, to set a static IP address of 192.168.1.100 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0, run the following command:

netsh interface ip set address "vEthernet (WSL)" static 192.168.1.100 255.255.255.0

In this command, interface ip set address is used to set the IP address of a specified interface. "vEthernet (WSL)" is the name of the virtual network adapter associated with WSL on your system. static is used to specify that we are setting a static IP address, and 192.168.1.100 and 255.255.255.0 are the new IP address and subnet mask, respectively.

You can find the correct name of the virtual network adapter by running the command netsh interface ip show config.

Verifying the New IP Address

After changing the IP address in Windows, you can verify the new IP address within Ubuntu by running ip addr show again. The output should now reflect the new IP address that you set.

Conclusion

Setting a static IP address in Ubuntu on Windows using WSL can be a bit complex, but with the right instructions, it can be done easily and quickly. Always remember to verify your changes and ensure that your network configuration is working as expected. If you prefer to use a static IP address within Ubuntu itself, you can manually add a second IP address to the virtual eth0 interface. However, this is a more advanced topic and is beyond the scope of this article.

Remember, it is recommended to leave the networking configuration in WSL unchanged unless you have a specific use-case that requires modifying the IP address. Happy networking!

Can I set a static IP address within Ubuntu itself in WSL?

No, by default, WSL manages the networking for Ubuntu, so you cannot directly change the IP address within Ubuntu itself. However, you can change the IP address in the Windows host, which will affect all WSL distributions running on the same Windows host.

How can I check my current network configuration in WSL?

To check your current network configuration in WSL, open the Ubuntu terminal and run the command ip addr show. This command will display the network interfaces and their assigned IP addresses.

How can I change the IP address in Windows for WSL?

To change the IP address in Windows for WSL, you need to open a Command Prompt or PowerShell window with administrator privileges. You can do this by right-clicking on the Command Prompt or PowerShell icon and selecting ‘Run as administrator’. Then, you can use the netsh command to modify the IP address of the virtual network adapter used by WSL.

How can I verify the new IP address after changing it in Windows?

After changing the IP address in Windows, you can verify the new IP address within Ubuntu by running ip addr show again in the Ubuntu terminal. The output should reflect the new IP address that you set.

Is it recommended to modify the networking configuration in WSL?

It is generally recommended to leave the networking configuration in WSL unchanged unless you have a specific use-case that requires modifying the IP address. Modifying the networking configuration can have unintended consequences and may disrupt the functionality of WSL.

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