WSL adds Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial support

Rich Turner

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! 🙂

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 😉

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.


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