Does the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) run Linux? Can you install it?

Does the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) run Linux? Can you install it?

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 for 2022 changes a lot from previous iterations of this device, but it’s bound to be one of the best Windows tablets around. Yes, it’s a tablet now instead of a convertible, but the premium quality you’ve come to expect of the XPS family is still here. But what if you’re not a Windows fan? Can you use Linux on the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1? Yes, though it’ll take some work.

Unlike other models in the Dell XPS 13 series, the 2-in-1 version isn’t available with Linux out of the box, as there’s no developer edition to be heard of. You can only buy it with Windows 11, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use Linux anyway. If you need Linux apps in your day-to-day, there are a few ways to make that possible.

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Windows Subsystem for Linux

The easiest way to run Linux apps on your Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is probably the Windows Subsystem for Linux. This is a feature that’s been part of Windows 10 (and then Windows 11) for a few years now, and it’s basically a kind of virtualization technology. You can install a Linux distribution of your choice from the Microsoft Store, and then use the Linux terminal to install any apps you want.

While the Linux OS itself will only run in a command-line interface, you can run GUI-based Linux apps just fine. Linux apps will open right alongside your Windows apps, too, and you use them as you would use any other app. This uses a unique kind of virtualization so performance is better than you might get with a typical virtual machine, plus you don’t have to deal with using two completely separate environments.

Linux version of GIMP and xcalx running on Windows 11

To use this feature, you’ll need to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux preview from the Microsoft Store, then look for Linux distributions you can install. You can only use distributions that are available on the Microsoft Store, which includes Ubuntu, Kali Linux, and a few more. Once you’ve installed them, you can launch these distributions and start using your Linux apps right inside Windows.

Installing Linux on the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

If you do want the full Linux desktop experience, there are other ways you can give it a go. One option is to use a proper virtual machine (VM). Similar to the Windows Subsystem for Linux, this uses virtualization technology, but it creates a completely separate environment using a virtual hard drive, and it basically acts like a PC within a PC. Because it uses virtualization, performance won’t be as good as it would be natively, but this gives you access to the full Linux desktop and apps, and it separates the Linux environment from Windows, if you prefer working that way. If you’ve never used a VM before, we have a guide on how to create one with Windows 11, but you can use an ISO file for your Linux distribution instead. For example, you can download an Ubuntu ISO here.

Screenshots of Windows and Ubuntu side by side

Another option is to use that ISO file to dual-boot Windows and Linux on your PC. This process is a bit riskier since it requires you to change the partitions on your disk, and there’s a chance things will stop working if you’re unfamiliar with the process. It also has the downside of requiring you to reboot the PC every time you want to switch operating systems. On the other hand, this will give you full native performance for both Linux and Windows, since there’s no virtualization involved. If you’re more interested in this method, we have a guide on how to dual-boot Windows 11 and Linux on the same PC.


And that’s all you need to know about running Linux on your Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. We wouldn’t exactly recommend replacing Windows 11 with Linux entirely since it’s not officially supported, but if you tried the methods above and you really prefer Linux, you can always do that.

Those interested in buying the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 will need to wait a little longer before they can buy it. Dell says it should be launching sometime this summer, so hopefully it happens sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you can check out the best Dell laptops you can buy today, many of which were available with Linux out of the box.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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