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February 6, 2024

Windows Introduces a Version of the Renowned Linux “Sudo” Command in Preview Build


Andrew Cunningham – Feb 5, 2024 7:40 pm UTC

Microsoft opened its arms to Linux during the Windows 10 era, inventing an entire virtualized subsystem to allow users and developers to access a real-deal Linux command line without leaving the Windows environment. Now, it looks like Microsoft may embrace yet another Linux feature: the sudo command.

Short for “superuser do” or “substitute user do” and immortalized in nerd-leaning pop culture by an early xkcd comic, sudo is most commonly used at the command line when the user needs administrator access to the system—usually to install or update software, or to make changes to system files. Users who aren’t in the sudo user group on a given system can’t run the command, protecting the rest of the files on the system from being accessed or changed.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, user @thebookisclosed found settings for a Sudo command in a preview version of Windows 11 that was posted to the experimental Canary channel in late January. WindowsLatest experimented with the setting in a build of Windows Server 2025, which currently requires Developer Mode to be enabled in the Settings app. There’s a toggle to turn the sudo command on and off and a separate drop-down to tweak how the command behaves when you use it, though as of this writing the command itself doesn’t actually work yet.

The sudo command is also a part of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), but it only applies to Linux software. This version is probably intended to run native Windows commands, though we can’t be sure how it operates until it’s enabled and fully functional. At present, users who want a command similar to sudo in Windows have to depend on third-party software such as gsudo.

A benefit of the sudo command for Windows users, irrespective of whether they’re using Windows Server or not, would be the capability to raise the privilege level without needing to open a separate command prompt or Windows Terminal window. As per the options in the preview build, commands run with sudo could either be opened in a new window or inline, eliminating the need to “right-click, run-as-administrator” if not necessary.

Microsoft consistently tests new features for Windows that may not make it to the public versions of the operating system. This feature may remain exclusive to Windows Server and not make it to the consumer version of Windows. However, considering the command’s existence in Linux and macOS, it could enhance user experience for Windows users who frequently use the command prompt.

Microsoft is incorporating a feature from Linux, but this goes both ways. A recent update to the Linux systemd software introduced a “blue screen of death” inspired by Windows, designed to provide users with more information about crashes when they occur.

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