What is Bash on Ubuntu on Windows?

Also called Bash/WSL, Bash on Windows, Linux Bash in Windows 10. Take your choice.

Whatever you call it, it is a Linux environment for Windows 10. When you run it, you get a Linux-like terminal window, from which you can run Linux commands. For a summary description, look at https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/commandline/wsl/about.

Why do I need it?

What I find it most useful for is unzipping files in the format .tar.gz. There is no native Windows app for this.

It’s also useful for creating files such as .gitignore, which have no suffix. To do this in Windows, you have to create the file with a suffix then delete the suffix.

If you prefer command line tools to those with a GUI, which some people find a lot quicker, these are built-in. Command line text editors such as vim and nano are popular. There’s are some fun interactive Vim tutorials here and here.

What is its main drawback?

Although you can access Windows folders and files from a Bash environment, you cannot do the reverse. For example, if you install Wordpress or Drupal, you cannot access the generated folders/files from within Bash. Imho there are better solutions to installing the above.

How do I install Bash on Windows?

There are plenty of online resources with step-by-step intructions:

Some useful commands

You can create a file with any (or no) extension with this command touch filename

To start Bash:
Right-click the Windows button (bottom left of your screen), click on Run, then enter bash
This brings up the Linux-like terminal window.

Navigate to C drive from the Linux environment: cd /mnt/c

Unzip filename.tar.gz: tar –xvzf filename.tar.gz

Rename file: mv filename.bak filename
This is useful if you want to remove a suffix from a filename. Windows won’t let you do this.