WSL adds Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial support

Not only does Windows 10 Insider build #14951 introduce Bash <--> Windows interop, it also delivers support for Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial).

While many of our more intrepid early-adopters have manually upgraded their Ubuntu 14.04 instances to Ubuntu 16.04, as of Windows 10 Insider build #14951, if you clean-install a new Linux instance or uninstall and reinstall your existing Ubuntu 14.04 instance, a recent Ubuntu 16.04 build will be installed on your machine, hot off the build machines of our awesome partners over at Canonical.

Will upgrading to Insider build #14951 upgrade my existing Ubuntu 14.04 instance?

No! We never modify your installed Linux instances - only you can update, upgrade or reinstall your instance. To fully uninstall any existing Ubuntu 14.04 instances (after backing-up an at config or working files), run the following from a cmd/PowerShell console:

lxrun /uninstall /full

to (re) install a fresh new Ubuntu 16.04 instance, run:

lxrun /install

Once the download and installation complete, you'll be asked to create a new UNIX username and password (these can be different from your Windows login credentials if you wish):

Installing Xenial

You can then run bash and run lsb_release -a to find out which Linux distro you're running, although piping it through cowsay & lolcat is optional, but pretty!Β πŸ™‚

Running lsb_release


Why are we now installing Ubuntu 16.04?

We Need You!

We need you to help increase our test coverage and help us deliver a high-quality release!

We can only test so many tools, technologies, and platforms, and what we test may not be what you want and need to run. So we need help from you, our amazing community, to kick our tires, prod and poke at our dark corners, push our boundaries, and stretch our limits.

You shouldn't find anything unknown, unexpected, or untoward, but if you do find issues, etc., please search and/or file new issues in our GitHub issue tracker. Just for the record though, here are some of the things we are explicitly not supporting (although we do nothing to stop you from trying to get some of these scenarios working)

  • We don't aim to support GUI/X applications or desktops in this release
  • We don't aim to support audio servers or streaming in this release
  • We do not plan to support CUDA or GPU-accelerated compute scenarios at this time
  • We do not support mounting removable or networked drives in this release
  • We strongly discourage modifying any of the files under %localappdata%\lxss from any Windows application - doing so is likely to result in data loss and/or corruption. You have been warned πŸ˜‰

Also, there are some known issues with Bash/WSL that we're working to fix or are on our backlog:

  • Disk performance is not yet where it needs to be (working on it)
  • ifconfig/ip and other network connection enumeration mechanisms don't yet work (working on it)

We hope you're as excited as we are to see Bash/WSL improve as rapidly as it has this last few months since it was first announced in April 2016, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Rich (@richturn_ms), on behalf of the Bash/WSL team.

Comments (24)

  1. This is great Rich. I loved notification as well. I can’t wait to have this inside a windows container. Initiate a Linux process inside a windows container! Please, don’t put this in your “not supporting” list. Imagine these commands in a DockerFile.

    1. That’s what Docker is for, no?

  2. Mark Jeanmougin says:

    Ubuntu 16.04 is working great for me under 14955. Keep up the wonderful work, peeps!

    1. Many thanks Mark. Delighted Bash/WSL is useful for you πŸ™‚

  3. Shibasis Patnaik says:

    You guys are awesome. I love WSL

  4. francisco says:

    Updated to 16.04 Xenial support.

    I found this useful info by accident…. Why do not you create a mailing list for WSL users?

    Any roadmap?

    Regards, WSL is my link with win10 windows world…

    Rgds, Fco

  5. Luciana Levy says:

    Hi! I follow these steps, but it ended installing Ubuntu 14.04.5 again. How can I specify to install Ubuntu 16?

    1. Doesn’t sound like you’re yet running a Windows Insider build: Only insider builds currently download 16.04.

  6. Vicey Wang says:

    Is there any way to upgrade my wsl without reinstall? I don’t want to reinstall all apps i’ve installed.

    1. Once you’ve upgraded your PC to a recent Windows Insider build, you can manually upgrade to 16.04 using the following:

      sudo apt update
      sudo apt upgrade
      sudo apt dist-upgrade

      1. Shmueli Englard says:

        You should put this information in the post too

  7. BjΓΆrn says:

    This will land in the stable branch with the Windows Creators Update, right?

    1. Of course: All our Insiders builds are just ~weekly snapshots of our master branch as we progress towards the next major OS release.

  8. Travis Bennett says:

    I’ve never been a big mac fan, however I’ve had a macbook pro as my primary dev machine for nearly 10 years now due to the dev tools available in the terminal (I’m a ruby/php dev). My macbook has been on a downward spiral as late; My discrete graphics card causes instability and now my hard drive started giving out this weekend. I just purchased an Asus Zenbook pro today. I’m essentially getting better/equivalent hardware at a fraction of the price, and I’m able to do this now because of the WSL tools you guys are building. This is phenomenal and I want to thank you guys for the hard work you’re putting into this. The only question now is do I want to wait for the official creators release or jump into the insider releases.

    1. Many thanks for your kind words, and welcome back to Windows πŸ˜€ We’re delighted to have you back on-board!

      As to whether to join Insiders or wait for CU: If WSL is an important part of your workflow, I’d recommend jumping onto the Insider fast-ring: This will ensure that you get the latest bits as soon as possible! We’ve a lot of great improvements planned for our next release which and the velocity of our improvements and new features will remain high after we’ve shipped Creators Update.

      Of course, this may mean that you get impacted by the occasional broken feature or wonky behavior, but these issues are generally fixed within a couple of days and are rarely completely-blocking.

      FWIW, I run our internal DAILY builds on my main work and main personal machines, and I’ve not yet been prevented from doing my work πŸ™‚

  9. Bjornar Moltubakk says:

    For some reason I’m not able to update Ubuntu using lxrun uninstall and install. Response in terminal is ok, but nothing happens.

    Any hints on how I can force a fresh install of bash? In advance, thanks a lot!

    1. RTFM πŸ˜‰

      After upgrading to Win10 Creators Update …

      C:\> lxrun /uninstall /full

      C:\> lxrun /install

  10. Andrew Phillips says:

    This is such good news, I was going to Dual boot my new notebook with Kubutu 16.04 but you pretty much saved me from needing to. I had a quick play and my friends are there (wget, ifconfig, grep, etc). Fantastic work! I also see you can run Windows .exe from the command line too. Awesome.

    I guess one day you’ll support CUDA and GPU accelerated machine learning, so in the mean time at least I can run my shell scrips πŸ˜€

  11. Aaron says:

    hopefully the next time ubuntu version is updated, it can be done without wiping out and reinstall

    1. You can update Ubuntu in-place, just as you would update Ubuntu on a server or VM.

      If you’re already running an existing Ubuntu instance, when you install Ubuntu from the Store, it’ll install alongside your original instance. At this point, your original instance should be considered legacy and you should plan on backing-up your files and moving them to your new instance.

      Please note: While we do our very best to avoid/minimize impact when we have to make substantial changes, we do, on occasion, have to make some breaking changes; there’s a reason WSL is still a beta feature.

  12. R E Broadley says:

    I need to install either Trusty 14.04 or Zesty 17.04 for some software development I am doing. How do I install these versions, and not Xenial 16.04 which seems to be the default?

    1. 14.04 was the first distro shipped during early beta releases of WSL. However, Canonical has chosen to only ship & support current OS releases on WSL, starting with 16.04. If you want to start running future OS releases, you can upgrade a current 16.04 instance using standard methods you’d use to upgrade any VM / machine. However, know that you may experience unexpected behaviors as we’ve not yet tested future OS builds on WSL, and we may be lacking support for new syscalls that we’ve not yet seen exercised.

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