How to upgrade Bash/Windows Subsystem for Linux in Windows 10 Creators Update

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You can't help but have noticed that Microsoft has started the rollout of Windows 10 Creators Update. After testing with Windows Insiders, the third big update to Windows 10 is finally making its way to the masses. But while Creators Update brings some pretty major changes to Windows 10, Windows Subsystem for Linux is not automatically updated.

The arrival of Bash/Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in Windows 10 Anniversary Update meant Ubuntu 14.04 support, but you can now manually update to gain Ubuntu 16.04 support in Creators Update. Microsoft says you need to perform one of two manual update methods: the recommended option of "Remove & Replace", or "Upgrade In-Place." Here's how to perform the update.

Before you can proceed with this update you will -- perhaps obviously -- need to have Windows Subsystem For Linux enabled on your computer. If you're reading this, it's likely that you have already done this but, for the sake of completeness, here's how to enable it:

  • Open Settings and head to Update & security.
  • Click For developers to the left and then select Developer mode to the right.
  • Now launch the Control Panel and open up Programs and Features.
  • Click Turn Windows features on or off and then check the box labeled Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta).
  • Click OK and restart your computer when prompted.

If you want to check what version of WSL you have at the moment, run the following command:

lsb-release -d

If you are running Ubuntu 14.04 -- as you most probably are -- you can use Microsoft's recommendation of performing a Remove and Replace update. Before you go ahead and do this, you should make copies of any Linux files you want to keep as they will be deleted. This done, run the following command:

C:\> lxrun /uninstall /full /y

...

C:\> lxrun /install

You can, if you prefer, perform an in-place upgrade using the following command:

$ sudo do-release-upgrade

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