Tag Archives: tar

Migrate Linux Subsystem from one PC to another

Are you enjoying your favorite Linux distro running within the Windows 10 Linux Subsystem?

Have you configured all nicely?

What happened if you get a new pc and you’d like to migrate your VM across?

This is what happened to me. And looking around, I found this post that gave me this kinda-dirty way, but did work!

After that, I decided to review the steps, and I’ve added these directories in the exclude’s list, to make clearer the process of export/import:

/dev
/proc
/sys
/run
/tmp
/media
/mnt
/var/cache
/var/run

Of course, if you have important data in these folders and you want to move across too, just update the one-liner below accordingly. 😉

On your OLD PC

  • Open your Linux VM
  • Get inside your Downloads directory (replace <user> with your username): cd /mnt/c/Users/<user>/Dowloads
  • Make sure to be root (sudo su -)
  • Run:
    tar -cvpzf backup.tar.gz --exclude=/backup.tar.gz --exclude=/dev --exclude=/proc --exclude=/sys --exclude=/run --exclude=/tmp --exclude=/media --exclude=/mnt --exclude=/var/cache --exclude=/var/run --one-file-system /
    NOTE: you could achieve the same using the option --exclude-from=file.txt, and having the list of exclusions in this file. I used a one-liner as it’s quicker to copy and paste.
  • Once done, close your Linux VM
  • Verify that you have a new file called backup.tar.bz in Dowloads

On your NEW PC

  • Install from Microsoft Store the same Linux VM (or reinstall in the same way you have done originally on your old pc)
  • Copy across your backup.tar.bz within your new Downloads folder
  • Open the VM that you’ve just installed (minimal setup – this will be completely overwritten, so don’t be bothered too much)
  • Once you’re inside and your backup.tar.bz is in Download, run the following (replace <user> with your username):
    sudo tar -xpzf /mnt/c/Users/<user>/Dowloads/backup.tar.gz -C / --numeric-owner
  • Ignore the errors
  • Close and re-open the VM: DONE! 🙂

Happy migration! 😉