Does the HP Spectre x360 run Linux? Can you install it?

Does the HP Spectre x360 run Linux? Can you install it?

HP recently launched the 2022 refresh of the Spectre x360, and it’s a promising pair of devices. They’re essentially building on what were already some of the best laptops on the market – now with newer processors and some other upgrades. But, just like the majority of those laptops, the HP Spectre x360 comes with Windows, and some people might prefer Linux. If you’re one of them, you’ll be happy to know that there are multiple ways to get Linux on your new laptop.

In fact, if you need to run some Linux apps, you might not even need to install the full operating system. Let’s take a look at the options available.


Windows Subsystem for Linux

First introduced with Windows 10, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is probably the easiest way to run Linux apps on your HP Spectre x360 without removing Windows or even having to leave it. With Windows 11, WSL can even run GUI-based Linux apps, and they open right alongside the Windows apps on your PC. This happens through virtualization, but you’re bypassing some of the fuss that can come with creating a virtual machine, plus everything integrates into a singular experience.

In order to run Linux apps this way, you’ll first need to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux (Preview) from the Microsoft Store, and then reboot your PC. Once that’s done, you can go back into the Microsoft Store and find your preferred Linux distribution. A few options are available, including Ubuntu, Kali Linux, and more. Running the Linux OS itself will usually happen in a command-line interface, but if you install a GUI-based app, you can open it and see it alongside your other apps, as you can see below.

Linux version of GIMP and xcalx running on Windows 11

This does mean you won’t be getting the full Linux experience, though, with the Linux desktop and all that. But if all you want is to run specific Linux apps on the HP Spectre x360, WSL is the most convenient way to do it. Plus, you don’t have to leave Windows behind if you still need it.

Install Linux on the HP Spectre x360

If you do want the more complete Linux experience, you can technically do it on the HP Spectre x360, and there are a couple of ways you can go about it. You can either create a virtual machine, if you want Windows to keep being your main operating system, or you can try dual-booting.

Creating a virtual machine is the more risk-free approach, though it does mean you’ll be losing some performance. Virtualization requires a lot of resources, so you’ll notice that it’s not quite as fast as running your operating system normally. Still, with a virtual machine, you can get the full Linux desktop experience and all of the apps you could want to install, and it’s a good way to get acquainted with the OS. You’ll need to use virtualization software, such as Hyper-V (in Windows 11 Pro) or VMware Workstation Player, then download an ISO for your preferred Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu. We have a guide on how to create a Windows 11 VM, and you can generally follow the same steps, just using the Linux ISO of your choice.

Screenshots of Windows and Ubuntu side by side

If you want to run Linux at full native performance, then you may want to try dual-booting Linux and Windows 11 on your PC. This comes with the downside that you have to reboot your laptop every time you want to switch operating systems, but when you’re running them, both can run natively without any performance loss. This may be a good setup if you want to use Linux for work and Windows for gaming, for example. We also have a guide on how to dual-boot Windows 11 and Linux on the same PC, so we recommend checking that out. If you find that you prefer using Linux full-time, you can always delete your Windows partition later (though you’ll need to backup your data). Do note that you won’t be able to get support from HP regarding Linux, though, since it’s not officially supported.

If you’re interested in buying the HP Spectre x360 (2022), you can do so using the links below. These are some of the best laptops HP makes, catering to different kinds of users depending on how much power or portability they need.

    The 2022 HP Spectre x360 13.5 has a 3:2 display and 12th-generation Intel processors with 10 cores and 12 threads. It runs Windows out of the box, but there are ways to run Linux apps.
    The HP Spectre x360 comes with a large 16:10 display and it gives you the choice between 28W and 45W processors depending on your needs. With some work, you can run Linux apps on it, too.

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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