Installing Tailscale on Windows with WSL 2

The current version of the Tailscale client available for download requires Windows 10 or later. If you are running Windows 7 (SP1) or Windows 8.x, Tailscale 1.44.2 is the latest supported client version, and can be downloaded from the Tailscale Packages page.

Installing Tailscale on WSL 2 is an advanced concept. You can find learn more about WSL from Microsoft’s documentation.

There is a specific issue with packet size and Tailscale. You can follow this GitHub issue for details. Report any performance issues on this thread if it is related.

This article shows how to install Tailscale within the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL 2) package. If you want to use the Tailscale .exe installer, see Installing Tailscale on Windows. If you want to use the Tailscale .msi installer, see Installing Tailscale on Windows with MSI.

To install

  1. Verify that you are on WSL 2. From Powershell, run the following command: wsl -l -v. In the VERSION column you should see a 2. This means you are using WSL 2.
  2. Start your WSL 2 instance from Powershell by running wsl.exe or opening up a Linux terminal tab (if you have it already configured).
  3. Run the automatic installation script:
curl -fsSL https://tailscale.com/install.sh | sh

More detailed instructions can be found on the Setting up Tailscale on Linux page, including a manual installation process.

  1. After the installation completes, Tailscale will not yet be running, so you will need to follow the text prompt after the installation and run sudo tailscale up. This will post a Tailscale URL that you can click or copy and paste into your browser.
  2. When your browser window launches you will need to authenticate using your SSO identity provider.
  3. Follow the prompts to add this node to your tailnet and you should see your new WSL 2 node in the Machines shortly.

Congratulations! You’ve added your Windows WSL 2 instance to your Tailscale network.

To uninstall

Users can uninstall Tailscale by running the following command: sudo apt-get remove tailscale.

Considerations

  • Your new WSL 2 node will most likely have the same name as your Windows node and it might show up in the Tailscale admin page as a duplicate name or with an appended number. You can rename your node in the Tailscale Machines page to reflect that it is your WSL 2 node.
  • If you run Tailscale on both the Windows host and inside WSL 2 at the same time, Tailscale encrypted traffic that flows from WSL 2 over Tailscale on the Windows host will not work due to Tailscale packets not being able to fit in Tailscale packets. For this reason it is recommended that users run Tailscale on the Windows host only, and not inside WSL 2.
  • If you run Tailscale inside WSL 2, the current versions of WSL 2 have a default MTU of 1280 on their default interface, which is not large enough for Tailscale to function. There is a workaround inside tailscaled that will raise the MTU of the default interface to 1340 if it detects that you’re on WSL and it is using what appears to be this default MTU.