How to fix “sub process usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code 1″ Error in Ubuntu

 Broken packages is a common problem in Ubuntu and other similar distros. Sometimes when you install a new application or update the system, you will encounter the error ‘Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code 1’ as happened with a user here :

It may also occur when a package installation becomes corrupted.

In this article, we will try to fix this issue using different solutions.

After every solution provided below, you would need to update the package list and then, when appropriate, install the new package or upgrade.

Solution 1 :Reconfigure Package Database

This solution consists in trying to re-configure the package database. Most likely, it could be that while installing a package, the database got corrupted. Reconfiguring solves the issue is most cases.

Open up your terminal and type in the command below :

sudo dpkg –configure -a

Solution 2: Removing the inconvenient package

Sometimes the package would need to be removed manually. Run the command below for the troublesome package :

$ sudo apt-get remove –purge package_name

This will help in removing all traces of the offensive application.

Solution 3: Corrupted sources file

It could be that the your sources file is corrupted along with some broken packages. In this case, try to remove the corrupted source file by typing in the command below in the terminal:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list

Then, run :

sudo software-properties-gtk

This will open software and updates window and a new sources.list file will be created automatically.

Go ahead and change the server to any other server that suits you. In order to create a new sources.list file, you would need to enable repositories (second box above, i.e. Community-maintained free and open-source software(universe)) .

Check all the boxes shown above and then click on Revert. Finally press the Close button.

Now open up the terminal and type in the command :

sudo apt-get remove –purge your_problematic_package

Then run

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y

Finally install your_problematic_package

You may be interested to read : How to install and uninstall applications on Ubuntu ? A Beginner’s guide

Solution 4 : Force install the software

Sometimes, a package installation might have been interrupted previously and could not therefore be resumed. You may try to carry out a force install attempt by running the command below :

sudo apt-get install –f

Solution 5: Remove post info files of the troublesome package

Another solution would be to remove all files associated with the package that is causing problem.Usually, the installation files are located in the file /var/lib/dpkg/info.

sudo ls –l /var/lib/dpkg/info | grep –i package_name

This in turn will generate a list of all references to the package you installed.

Now you would need to delete them by entering the command :

sudo mv /var/lib/dpkg/info/package_name.* /tmp

The files will be removed to the /tmp directory .Now, run a sudo apt the update in order to be able to install the software again on a clean slate :

sudo apt-get update

Solution : 6 : Clean up unused Software Packages

Try to remove unused application packages by running the command :

sudo apt autoremove

For more on the cleanup solution, you may want read our article: How to keep Ubuntu clean.


amin nahdy

Amin Nahdy, an aspiring software engineer and a computer geek by nature as well as an avid Ubuntu and open source user. He is interested in information technology especially Linux based ecosystem as well as Windows and MacOS. He loves to share and disseminate knowledge to others in a transparent and responsible way.

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