This is an update of What is Ubuntu Advantage doing on my (fully supported) 18.04 box, what is it checking for twice a day, and can I get rid of it? for 20.04, because the answer is different.

Re: ubuntu-advantage-tools, looks like every 12 hours it wakes up, looks for something on my system, does not find it, and goes away.

I don't remember installing anything called ubuntu advantage on purpose and from what I can tell, it's used for systems that are past their EOL, which this 20.04 system is decidedly not.

Also, I can't find a service called ubuntu advantage or an entry in cron.

What is this thing trying to to do, how is it running, and how do I get rid of it?

  • 1
    If it's just the answer that's different, then why not edit that question to make it more general, and post your answer there?
    – muru
    Oct 23, 2021 at 6:57

2 Answers 2


This fine answer works great for 18.04.

It tells you to remove the package which is great because on 18.04 it only removes the additional package ubuntu-minimal.

However, on 20.04 it wants to remove a lot more stuff, namely

  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer
  • ubuntu-release-upgrader-gtk
  • update-manager
  • update-manager-core
  • update-notifier
  • update-notifier-common

because of the following dependency tree:

$ aptitude why ubuntu-advantage-tools
i   ttf-mscorefonts-installer Depends update-notifier-common (>= 0.119ubuntu2)
i A update-notifier-common    Depends update-manager-core (>= 1:17.04.2)      
i A update-manager-core       Depends ubuntu-advantage-tools           

That's unacceptable, so we have to look for another way. And here it is.

  1. Stop and mask the services

    sudo systemctl stop ua-messaging.timer
    sudo systemctl stop ua-messaging.service
    sudo systemctl stop ua-timer.timer
    sudo systemctl mask ua-messaging.timer
    sudo systemctl mask ua-messaging.service
    sudo systemctl mask ua-timer.timer
  2. Check that it worked

    systemctl status ua-messaging.service
    systemctl status ua-messaging.timer
    systemctl status ua-timer.timer

    You should see a status like this for each

    $ systemctl status ua-messaging.service
    * ua-messaging.service
        Loaded: masked (Reason: Unit ua-messaging.service is masked.)
        Active: inactive (dead)
    $ systemctl status ua-messaging.timer
    * ua-messaging.timer
        Loaded: masked (Reason: Unit ua-messaging.timer is masked.)
        Active: inactive (dead) since Fri 2021-11-12 23:10:16 GMT; 1min 2s ago
       Trigger: n/a
    Nov 12 01:09:42 focal systemd[1]: Started Ubuntu Advantage update messaging.
    Nov 12 01:10:16 focal systemd[1]: ua-messaging.timer: Succeeded.
    Nov 12 01:10:16 focal systemd[1]: Stopped Ubuntu Advantage update messaging.
    $ systemctl status ua-timer.timer
    * ua-timer.timer
        Loaded: masked (Reason: Unit ua-timer.timer is masked.)
        Active: inactive (dead)
       Trigger: n/a
  3. Remove the APT hook (see this answer for details why)

    sudo rm /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20apt-esm-hook.conf

and after a day or so check /var/log/ubuntu-advantage.log to confirm it is not running any more.

  • 3
    Maybe systemctl mask would be better than systemctl disable for 100% guarantee :)
    – N0rbert
    Oct 23, 2021 at 18:59
  • 1
    @N0rbert you could well be right, I don't understand the difference between the commands well enough to say. Oct 23, 2021 at 20:26
  • On my system, the timer and service is called ua-timer.timer and ua-timer.service - but I believe they have the same function? Nov 3, 2021 at 11:58
  • 6
    You can load a disabled service. A masked one you can not
    – Rinzwind
    Nov 3, 2021 at 11:58
  • 1
    @OrganicMarble I have edited your great answer to reflect latest finding from askubuntu.com/a/1374989/66509 .
    – N0rbert
    Nov 11, 2021 at 22:16

Moar nukes for whoever (has to) install the latest python3-software-properties software-properties-common software-properties-gtk, bringing in ubuntu-advantage-desktop-daemon:

sudo rm /etc/ubuntu-advantage/help_data.yaml
sudo rm /etc/update-motd.d/88-esm-announce
sudo rm /etc/update-motd.d/91-contract-ua-esm-status
sudo systemctl mask esm-cache.service 
sudo systemctl mask reboot-cmds.service
sudo systemctl mask apt-news.service

Source: .../ubuntu-advantage-tools_27.13.2~20.04.1_amd64.deb

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