There Are Now Three Versions of Ubuntu in the Microsoft Store, Here’s Why

Search for Ubuntu in the Microsoft Store and you’ll see three versions: “Ubuntu 16.04”, “Ubuntu 18.04”, and “Ubuntu”. This means you can install a specific LTS version, or always have the latest LTS version.

We’ve shown you how to install and use the Linux bash shell on Windows 10, but you’ve got to choose a distro to use. Canonical plans to add every Long Term Release (LTS) version of Ubuntu to the Microsoft Store, and are giving users the ability to decide which version they want—hence the separate listings.

To summarize:

  • Installing Ubuntu 16.04 gives you the version of Ubuntu released in April of 2016, codename Xenial Xerus, which will get security updates until April 2021.
  • Installing Ubuntu 18.04 gives you the version of Ubuntu released in April of 2018, codename Bionic Beaver, which will get security updates until April 2023.
  • Installing Ubuntu, without the number, means you will always have the latest LTS release. A new LTS release comes out every two years, meaning the next one should be in 2020.

This change makes things a lot simpler than when Ubuntu 18.04 launched in Windows Store last month. At that point Ubuntu 16.04 was named “Ubuntu,” without numbers, as opposed to “Ubuntu 18.04.” Most people will likely opt for the simple name, so it makes sense that that version should always be up-to-date.

But some people aren’t going to want their development environments to switch versions without warning, because that might break things. For those users it’s better to go with a specific version.

This may be a little confusing, but it also gives people some needed flexibility. Our thanks to Surur at at MSPowerUser for pointing this all out to us.

Justin Pot is the News Editor for How-To Geek. He lives in Hillsboro, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.