I can't seem to add any applications. I receive a notice saying "Waiting for package manager lock". I like Elementary but I am stuck and unable to install any additional programs. Should I do a clean install of Elementary....ie start again from scratch?

  • I gave up on Elementary and returned to Mint. Feb 9, 2017 at 15:03

4 Answers 4


Had same problem - in the end fixed using sudo dpkg --configure -a from a hint provided when trying sudo apt-get update.

  • The sudo dpkg --configure -a worked for me in Loki. Thanks !!
    – user8313
    Jan 26, 2017 at 16:51
  • This worked for me. Thank you! What did it do? Apr 26, 2017 at 17:37
  • Can you explain what this command is doing? May 3, 2018 at 19:21

That's probably because some other program is using apt or you aren't running it with sudo. Just reboot and then do sudo apt install [program]

  • Tried that. Numerous times. In fact I just did it in an attempt to install Shotwell. Ya da ya da ya da ..... and then "unable to correct problems. you have held broken packages. Great. How do I "unhold" them? I have 14 apps in a logjam waiting to be downloaded. Are they all unbroken? Whatever....how do I clear them from the queue? Dec 1, 2016 at 21:35
  • oh btw I appreciate your suggestion...hope I didn't sound flippant or unappreciative! Dec 1, 2016 at 21:43
  • Open /etc/apt/sources.list then check what PPAs you've added. Use ppa-purge ppa:nameofppa to delete them. That's going to remove/downgrade some packages as well but may solve the broken packages thingy. When you've deleted all PPAs do sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade. If that works correctly you can start to add the PPAs you need again but run the previous command after adding another PPA so you find which one was causing the issue. Also, if you do sudo apt get update and look at the output it may give you some info about what PPA is causing this.
    – Maccer
    Dec 2, 2016 at 10:23
  • /etc/apt/sources.list . Permission denied. sudo apt get update. Invalid operation get. Dec 2, 2016 at 13:55
  • Well go figure....it appears that a system update rectified the problem. Yet I don't understand exactly how that occurred since the "jam up" wouldn't allow me to run the system update previously. So chalk it up to magic? Dec 2, 2016 at 14:46

I successfully used sudo dpkg --configure -a once a couple of days ago and it worked, but tonight I can't get anything to work.

When I try sudo dpkg --configure -a I get this:

dpkg: error: dpkg status database is locked by another process

When I try /etc/apt/sources.list I get

bash: /etc/apt/sources.list: Permission denied

I'm curious; why is permission to display a list of PPAs denied the administrator?

At https://askubuntu.com/questions/13965/waiting-for-other-software-manager-to-quit it says to check in System Monitor for a process that looks like an apt or an apt-get or a synaptic process and kill it. I can't see any.

That page also suggests trying sudo rm /var/lib/dpkg/lock and it didn't give me an error message but there was no indication that it did anything and I still can't update.

I have shut the computer down two or three times to no avail.

Sorry I can't highlight the commands like you guys have. I looked at the advanced help and couldn't see how to do it.

Edit: I just tried to update from the terminal using sudo apt-get update and this is what I got (I took the http: out of the first nine lines because I had too many links):

Hit:1 //us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial InRelease
Ign:2 //dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb stable InRelease                                         
Get:3 //security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-security InRelease [102 kB]                           
Get:4 //us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-updates InRelease [102 kB]                          
Hit:5 //dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb stable Release                                           
Hit:7 //ppa.launchpad.net/elementary-os/stable/ubuntu xenial InRelease                          
Hit:8 //ppa.launchpad.net/elementary-os/os-patches/ubuntu xenial InRelease                      
Get:9 //us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu xenial-backports InRelease [102 kB]

Fetched 306 kB in 0s (321 kB/s)

E: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'sudo dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem. 
duane@duane-desktop:~$ sudo dpkg --configure -a

Setting up libdvd-pkg (1.4.0-1-1) ...

debconf: DbDriver "config": /var/cache/debconf/config.dat is locked by another process: Resource temporarily unavailable

dpkg: error processing package libdvd-pkg (--configure):

subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1

Errors were encountered while processing:

There is a process called dconf-service. Should I end or kill it?

I can't believe it! I decided to shut things down and go to bed, so I clicked to close the Terminal and it said that there was a process running in the Terminal and, of course, it would quit if I closed. I closed and then tried updating and the system and Firefox both updated.
I started using the Terminal because I couldn't update and I had quit Terminal several times during this process, but this time it was different.
I wish I knew why.

I still can't display the list of PPAs. That's weird.


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