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Upgrade Ubuntu on Windows Subsystem for Linux from 20.04 to 22.04

4 min read

In this guide I’m going to detail upgrading Ubuntu on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) from the current version 20.04 to 22.04 this the development build of Ubuntu 22.04 which is due to be released on 2022 April 21.

You can Tl;Dr and watch the video if you like.

I have documented the process in the past for moving from Ubuntu version 18.04 to 19.10. You can see my comments as I went through the process back then.

That was to move from the lts (Long Term Service) to the normal release.

In this guide we’re going full YOLO upgrade to Aprils release! I personally have been using this for a few month now with no issues.

Do a normal upgrade (Ubuntu 21.10)

If you’re wanting to go to the next normal release you can use the approach mentioned in the linked guide. The Tl;Dr is this, open the release-upgrades file with:

sudo nano /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

And change the default behaviour from lts to normal:

# Default behavior for the release upgrader.

[DEFAULT]
# Default prompting and upgrade behavior, valid options:
#
#  never  - Never check for, or allow upgrading to, a new release.
#  normal - Check to see if a new release is available.  If more than one new
#           release is found, the release upgrader will attempt to upgrade to
#           the supported release that immediately succeeds the
#           currently-running release.
#  lts    - Check to see if a new LTS release is available.  The upgrader
#           will attempt to upgrade to the first LTS release available after
#           the currently-running one.  Note that if this option is used and
#           the currently-running release is not itself an LTS release the
#           upgrader will assume prompt was meant to be normal.
Prompt=normal

If you going this route then before you start, make sure you have updated and upgraded your system with the usual command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y && sudo apt autoremove -y

Then you can use the do-release-upgrade command to upgrade:

sudo do-release-upgrade

Do a development release upgrade (Ubuntu 22.04)

I’m not doing that though! I’ll be going to the development release! As I mentioned earlier, before doing this I’ll make sure I have updated and upgraded my system with the usual command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y && sudo apt autoremove -y

So for the development upgrade I’m going to be passing the development flag (-d) to the do-release-upgrade command:

sudo do-release-upgrade -d

Then I can follow any prompts which are given, the first is to confirm I’m happy to proceed with the upgrade.

Reading state information... Done

Calculating the changes

Calculating the changes

Do you want to start the upgrade?


1 installed package is no longer supported by Canonical. You can
still get support from the community.

3 packages are going to be removed. 86 new packages are going to be
installed. 597 packages are going to be upgraded.

You have to download a total of 253 M. This download will take about
1 minute with your connection.

Installing the upgrade can take several hours. Once the download has
finished, the process cannot be canceled.

 Continue [yN]  Details [d] y

I’ll answer y to continue.

The next is a prompt asking me if I want to configure a mail server! I’m not using Ubuntu for that so I’ll skip that.

configure-ubuntu-mail-server-initial

I’ll use the arrow keys to select No configuration.

configure-ubuntu-mail-server-no-config

Then use the tab key to select <Ok> and hit the enter key to continue.

configure-ubuntu-mail-server-ok

Next I’m prompted to confirm the removal of the obsolete packages, I’ll answet y to this and hit enter.

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done

Searching for obsolete software
Reading state information... Done

Remove obsolete packages?


68 packages are going to be removed.

 Continue [yN]  Details [d] y

Then finally I’m prompted to restart the server after the upgrade is complete:

System upgrade is complete.

Restart required

To finish the upgrade, a restart is required.
If you select 'y' the system will be restarted.

Continue [yN] y

I’ll get a final prompt to tell me the system needs a restart!

System has not been booted with systemd as init system (PID 1). Can't operate.
Failed to connect to bus: Host is down
Failed to talk to init daemon.
=== Command detached from window (Wed Jan 26 22:21:08 2022) ===

If I hit enter again and press x the terminal will restart with the upgraded version of Ubuntu.

I can do a final check with lsb_release -a to confirm I’ve been upgraded!

🎉lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu Jammy Jellyfish (development branch)
Release:        22.04
Codename:       jammy

All done!

Here’s a video detailing the process

You can check out the upgrade process over on my YouTube channel as well!

Wrap up!

That’s it! I’ve upgraded my Ubuntu version from 20.04 to 22.04!

I hope you found useful and I’ll see you in the next one!

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