How To: Upgrade WSL Ubuntu 18.04 to 18.10

David J Eddy on March 29, 2019

Originally posted on my blog. After reading that Ubuntu 19.04 has been release it got me thinking "can WSL Ubuntu be upgraded?". TL;DR: Yes: BUT. ... [Read Full]
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I think dist-upgrade won't upgrade the Linux distribution to a higher version. It is same as upgrade with some additional features.

To upgrade the Linux distribution, you have to run sudo do-release-upgrade afterwards. I wrote on this topic few days ago.


Exactly. 18.04 wasn't upgraded to 18.10. And on a side note: 19.04 hasn't been released, yet. It will be released in 4 weeks.


Sure. That's nice, but it's not so special as you might think. It's open source after all.

@david_j_eddy : So... now that you know that "sudo do-release-upgrade" is necessary for the upgrade from 18.04 to 18.10, would you mind trying this out in WSL and adding the result to your article?

I found with going from 16-18 with do-release-upgrade it was actually faster to start over that it was to wait for the upgrade on WSL.

I have been working with WSL long enough to know that it's important to document your dev setup for that time when you need to start over. 😅

For anyone else interested I had a look to see if I could update my version of Ubuntu from 18.04 and it seems there's no release available yet.

do release image on ubuntu 18.04

Ok, let's see where this goes, currently 14:15 here in the UK and I've kicked this off after setting the Prompt=normal in release-upgrades.

do upgrade confirmation

I have a 2 core i5 @ 2.7 GHz, once complete I'll check with lsb_release -a

14:30 so it looks like this failed, I got this prompt:


Not sure what it's for but retrying didn't work so I aborted out and got this mesasage:


Not going anywhere now 😬

So after a lot of Ctrl+c's I got an option to resurrect the window, it's now moving again.

So, it looks like it was a botched upgrade, I'm presuming because I didn't use sudo 🤦‍♀️

part update image


To @spences10 (since for some reason I'm unable to reply), the reason you don't get any upgrades listed when you run lsb_release -a on 18.04 is because 18.04 is an LTS release, so by default it will only look for the next LTS version.

I think, though I'm not 100% sure, but I think you can change this behavior by editing /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades. Change the line Prompt=lts to Prompt=normal and I think it should work. I could be wrong, though; I've never actually done it because I generally stick to the LTS versions.


Simply don't upgrade. Ubuntu LTS versions are here for a reason. For the sake of experimentation why not but for sake of stability, using Ubuntu with 9 months EOL instead of 5 years lifecycle is a wrong move. See

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