Is it possible to reboot the Ubuntu sub-system without restarting my system?

I tried to use the shutdown command after installing some updates, but that doesn't seem to be an option here.

Bash on Windows. Reboot required. shutdown: Unable to shutdown system


At an administrative PowerShell prompt: Restart-Service LxssManager


Using CMD (Administrator)

net stop LxssManager
net start LxssManager

enter image description here

Using services applet

  1. WIN+R -> services.msc
  2. Find LxssManager

    enter image description here

  3. Right-click -> Restart

  • why net instead of sc, as in @llinfeng's answer – Gaia Jan 1 at 17:36
  • net worked in cmd (with admin). Just tested that my bat-file with sc did not work in Windows OS Build 1809. – llinfeng Jan 15 at 16:11

Since Windows 10 version 1803, closing all WSL terminal windows won't kill background processes by default, unless the file /var/run/reboot-required is present. This file will be automatically created by apt on Ubuntu when an update requires a reboot, but if you want to manually reboot the subsystem, you can create the file yourself:

sudo touch /var/run/reboot-required

I haven't tested this on other distributions available in the Microsoft Store. An alternative solution is to kill all processes yourself:

sudo killall -r '.*'
  • Do you know what I can do force a required reboot? I want to test the answer so I can accept it. – Louis Jun 10 '18 at 4:37
  • This worked for me. I had to sudo: sudo killall -r '.*' – F21 Jun 20 '18 at 9:19
  • @Louis I see you've already accepted it, but you can do sudo touch /var/run/reboot-required. In fact, it seems the presence of the file causes WSL to kill all background processes and shut down the subsystem when all terminal windows are closed, so you can abuse that as well. – nyuszika7h Jul 28 '18 at 8:40
  • killall worked perfectly for me. Didn't need to touch reboot-required. – Giovanni Bassi May 5 at 16:06

Simply exiting the shell with exit and reopening seems to do the trick.

Louis@ATHENA:~$ bin/rcheck.sh
Reboot not necessary.

Louis@ATHENA:~$ bin/update.sh
[sudo] password for Louis:
The following packages will be upgraded:
  libssl1.0.0 openssl
2 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Get:1 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty-updates/main libssl1.0.0 amd64 1.0.1f-1ubuntu2.21 [830 kB]
Get:2 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty-updates/main openssl amd64 1.0.1f-1ubuntu2.21 [489 kB]
Setting up libssl1.0.0:amd64 (1.0.1f-1ubuntu2.21) ...
Setting up openssl (1.0.1f-1ubuntu2.21) ...
Del libssl1.0.0 1.0.1f-1ubuntu2.20 [830 kB]
Del openssl 1.0.1f-1ubuntu2.20 [489 kB]

Louis@ATHENA:~$ bin/rcheck.sh
Reboot required.

Louis@ATHENA:~$ exec bash -l
Louis@ATHENA:~$ bin/rcheck.sh
Reboot required.

Louis@ATHENA:~$ exit

Louis@ATHENA:~$ bin/rcheck.sh
Reboot not necessary.
  • 4
    This does not work anymore. – Dakkaron Jul 24 '18 at 9:51
  • @Dakkaron - It did when the question was submitted. – Ramhound Oct 23 '18 at 1:55
  • That's why I said "anymore". The information that this post is outdated is important, so other people who have the problem right now don't need to try it to find out that it does not work. I am not sure how things are handled here, but on Stackoverflow an answer is not only supposed to help the person who asked the question, but also all others who are looking for solutions for the same problem. – Dakkaron Oct 23 '18 at 8:23
  • Specifically, it does not work since Windows 10 Build 17046. @Louis would you mind editing this into your answer? – Dakkaron Oct 23 '18 at 9:58
  • Works for me on build 17134. – Ian Kemp Nov 8 '18 at 7:19

Just open a cmd window as adminstrator and run these commands to restart it.

net stop LxssManager
net start LxssManager
  • 1
    Add some seconds between those two command. e.g. timeout /t 3 command (add 3 seconds). – Biswapriyo Oct 21 '18 at 6:33
  • 1
    This duplicates samdd's answer from August. – fixer1234 Oct 25 '18 at 2:46

I have created a *.bat file, and running it does the rebooting within 10 seconds. (I am amazed by how fast things get reloaded. And, please advise if my approach will cause serious trouble in the long run.)

Put the following two lines in a WSL_reboot.bat file, and run it every time you need to reboot the WSL on Windows 10.

net stop LxssManager
net start LxssManager 

Update note: per my recent "upgrade" of Windows OS, the Build 1809 does not like sc command anymore.

Side note: one need to reboot the WSL "kernel" when he/she format a lettered-drive through Windows Explorer. Haven't quite solve the by-product, though, where ls command will get the following error. Related-post-from-WSL@Github; Related-post-from-the-Stack. Will drop a link if I manage to solve the by-product bug.

ls: 'System Volume Information': Permission denied
d--x--x--x 1 llinfeng llinfeng       512 Jan 15 11:00 'System Volume Information'/
  • Not sure who down-voted my answer. It has been tested to work on my Windows 10 machine. – llinfeng Oct 23 '18 at 15:03
  • why sc instead of net, as in @samdd's answer – Gaia Jan 1 at 17:35
  • 1
    I guess net was not working with my Windows 10 at the time? sc must have worked back then. I should have specified the windows build number. – llinfeng Jan 2 at 16:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.