Where is the home directory in Windows

What is the home directory of the Windows subsystem for Linux?

When I start Subsystem for Linux on Windows, I am moved to the directory

When I see this directory, I see the directories, etc. that I am in using the Windows File Explorer. Since this is where the program started, I expected this to be my home directory, but when I either type in or am taken to something

this contains my, etc. file that I would expect to find in my home directory in a Linux box. Also, typing in from here I can see the directories, and so on, again expected on a Linux box.

I have two questions about this:

  1. What exactly is being compared with? It seems like they are one and the same - so what is it?
  2. How can I view the files in Windows File Explorer? Not that I ever really wanted to - I'm just trying to get a feel for how Windows organizes this subsystem for Linux.


For 2: The current path now refers to the distribution you installed from the Microsoft Store and no longer to a global path. For Ubuntu it is now located at:

I'm assuming the other distros will be in a similar location in their respective folders:

  1. is exactly the same as. It's just the syntax to be accessed from the WSL.
  2. Look inside .

Mounted via the file system on

  1. What exactly is / mnt / c / Users / compared to C: \ Users \? It looks like they're one and the same - so what is / mnt / c /?

Unlike Windows, Linux (and the other Unix-based systems) use a single folder structure, regardless of the number of hard drives present. If you have multiple hard drives, all of these disks need me assembled in the folder structure at some point.

  • Typically, all disks (not used to boot the system) are in a folder named or attached

WSL has a special file system called DrvFS that you can use to access the disks used in Windows. With DrvFS, you can mount not only your Windows file system, but network drives and other types of media as well.

  • In the WSL, the hard disk is mounted in Windows under
  • If you have another hard drive, for example a hard drive in Windows, it will be mounted under

The files that you can see are the same ones that you have in. When you change a file, the changes are also reflected in the windows.

You can use the command to access other types of media, such as removable drives or network shares.

About the location of

  1. How can I view the files in / home / using Windows File Explorer? Not that I ever really wanted to - I'm just trying to get a feel for how Windows organizes this subsystem for Linux.

In WSL, the entire Linux file system is located in a Windows folder. The location of the folder depends on the version of Windows and the WSL distribution you are using.

  • First versions of WSL save the Linux file system in
  • WSL distributions from Windows Build 16215 (mid 2017) from the Windows Store , use a folder like the following. The name of the package varies depending on the distribution (e.g. it is different for Ubuntu than for Debian)
  • Linux distributions made with other tools like lxRunOffline or WSL-DistroLauncher were installed, the Linux file system can be stored anywhere.

You may check many options to determine the location of the WSL folder. I think the easiest way, for example, is to use lxRunOffline to know the installation folder.

Once you know the location of the installation folder, it is located under.

  • For example if your installation folder is
  • is in

NOTE: Both Linux and Windows store file permissions in different ways. Nowadays the WSL-DrvFS stores the Linux permissions as streams (metadata) attached to the files that you can see in Windows. Microsoft does not recommend modifying Linux files using Windows programs. It is possible for some Windows applications to corrupt Linux permissions without even realizing it.

I suppose it depends on what build of Windows you're on, but for me it came in 2018 on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, version 1709 (OS build 16299.522) and also version 1803 (OS build 17134.165) [ironically about a Windows update when I typed this] the place is still:

The trick is if you are about to see a folder (unless you cleared the "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)" box in your folder options).

However, just append in the Windows Explorer address bar and you will get into the folder.

(Note I have Not have one or the like mentioned in Michael Bond's answer)

To update

It turned out there was an older WSL that I had installed. The WSL is now made available via a Microsoft Store app. There are versions for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and now also some other Linux variants (e.g. Debian). If you want to be up to date, you can uninstall older versions of WSL and install the Microsoft Store version.

Where your home folder is located depends on which of these types of WSL you have installed.

  1. Using the WSL bash console, create a file with any name in your home directory, e.g. B. "test_here.txt".
  2. Then use the search field in Windows Explorer to search for the test_here.txt file.
  3. On the file found, right-click> Open File Location.

Windows 10 Pro can connect Debian / Ubuntu / OpenSUSE $ HOME to the Windows Start menu in four steps:

  1. Start the file explorer from the start menu
  2. Enter% LOCALAPPDATA% in the address bar (not the search bar).
  3. In the search bar, look for your $ HOME directory name, in my case it was ekenny. There will be about 3 versions of this, but you'll want the ones with the really long way.
  4. Right-click your home directory and click "Pin to Start".

You have now pinned your home directory to your start menu. I tried creating a shortcut but nowhere is it intelligible.

I just had to search with Ubuntu 16.04 to find NTFS storage in Windows 10. I found it here:

  • I switched to Windows nomenclature.
  • I've also changed all occurrences from to for the same reason.
  • You need to replace with your Windows username.
  • I had to use to get permissions to view the user files stored in WSL.
  • NO WAY Update your Linux files in WSL using a Windows application. It will corrupt your Linux data .

From the Linux side (Ubuntu 16.04) the nomenclature would be:

With the current Windows 10 Insider (Fast Ring: Windows 10 Build 19025.1) you can integrate your distribution as a network drive. The WSL is accessible because the path is your distribution name ().

For example

In Bash, type the following to view the current directory in Windows File Explorer:

Stop that "." Not from. This will open Windows Explorer in the current folder and you can see where everything is in relation to the rest of your Windows system.

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