Home » Unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/dpkg/) is another process using it?

Unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/dpkg/) is another process using it?

Solutons:


This should be used as last resort. If you use this carelessly you can end up with a broken system. Please try the other answers first before doing this.

You can delete the lock file with the following command:

sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/lock

You may also need to delete the lock file in the cache directory

sudo rm /var/cache/apt/archives/lock
sudo rm /var/lib/dpkg/lock

After that, try opening Synaptic again.

I see pretty much all the answers recommend deleting the lock. I don’t recommend doing that as a first measure; maybe if there is no alternative. The lock is placed when an apt process is running, and is removed when the process completes. If there is a lock with no apparent process running, this may mean the process got stuck for some reason.

If you try

ps aux | grep [a]pt

or

pgrep -a apt

that will catch processes containing the word apt, at least. If you see an apt-get process or an aptitude process that looks stuck, you can try

sudo kill processnumber

and if that doesn’t work try

sudo kill -9 processnumber

This should kill the process and may remove the lock. Killing an apt or aptitude process is harmless unless it is actually in the middle of package installation. In any case, if the process got stuck, you probably don’t have a choice but to kill it.

Killing a dpkg process directly, if present, is not a good idea, because if dpkg is active, it is probably manipulating the package database, and killing it may leave the package database in an inconsistent state; i.e. corrupted.

Killing an apt-get or aptitude process is in general much safer.

Remove your /var/lib/dpkg/lock file and force package reconfiguration.

sudo rm /var/lib/dpkg/lock
sudo dpkg --configure -a

It should work after this.

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