I just installed WSL2 on my Windows 10 computer running Ubuntu 20.04. I already have WSL1 with Ubuntu 18.04 with a plethora of files and functions that I'd now like to use with my system in WSL2. I moved a single numpy folder over and my .bashrc script over as well. However, now whenever I try to move over a new folder, my command line tells me

-bash: cd: rootfs/david/home/*folder name*: Permission Denied

I've tried using sudo cd, but that gives me an error as well. I'm copying over the content using the directory location on windows, i.e.

cd /mnt/c/User/*User Name*/AppDate/Local/Packages/CanonicalGroupLimited.Ubuntu18.04onWindows_79rhkp1fndgsc/LocalState/rootfs/...

Did I screw something up in WSL2 setup? All I ultimately want to do is get the setup I had in WSL1 environment working in my WSL2 setup.

  • WSL seems to suffer with file-permissions that are out of its control. They are on he host system. Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 10:16
  • If you cd to /mnt/c/User/*User Name*/AppDate/Local/Packages/CanonicalGroupLimited.Ubuntu18.04onWindows_79rhkp1fndgsc/LocalState/rootfs/... one directory at a time, on which directory does the cd fail? Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 11:35
  • @MarkPlotnick It won't let me do anything in ./rootfs/. I try to cd to that directory and I don't have permission, no tab complete or anything. If I verbatim write the path to a subdirectory, it still says I have no permission.
    – David G.
    Commented Jan 31, 2021 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


Whatever I understood from your question is that you want to convert your WSL1 system to WSL2 system.

First to check the name of the distribution ("Ubuntu 10.04" must be a typo in the question).

wsl --list --verbose

Note the name of the distribution you want to convert to WSL2 and use the following command to convert:

wsl --set-version <distribution name> 2

The number written at the end of the command is the WSL version. You can write either 1 or 2 there.

  • So my WSL1 is in Ubuntu 18.04 and my WSL2 is in Ubuntu 20.04, I would like to using a WSL environment in Ubuntu 20.04. If I go to my WSL1 environment and do this, it will still be in 18.04, correct?
    – David G.
    Commented Jan 31, 2021 at 20:19
  • if you convert your WSL version of Ubuntu 18.04 from 1 to 2, it will still stays the same Ubuntu 18.04. So yes it is correct. Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 19:13
  • So I ended up converting my WSL 1 distribution from Ubuntu 18.04 to 20.04, then I switched that over from WSL 1 to WSL 2. I don't know why the tutorial I first looked up had me set up a new WSL environment to run WSL 2.
    – David G.
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 19:28
  • glad it solved your problem. Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 5:10

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