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How To Check the Last Time `apt-get update` was Run on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 13

In this tutorial, we will guide you on how to check the last time apt-get update was run on your Ubuntu system. This can be useful for system administrators and users who want to keep track of system updates.

Understanding apt-get update

The apt-get update command is used in Ubuntu to resynchronize the package index files from their sources specified in /etc/apt/sources.list file. It’s a vital command to ensure your system packages are up-to-date.

Checking the Last Update Time

There are a few ways to check when the last apt-get update was run. We’ll explore these methods below.

Method 1: Checking the update-success-stamp File

One of the simplest ways to check the last update time is to look at the timestamp of the /var/lib/apt/periodic/update-success-stamp file. This file gets updated every time apt-get update is successfully run.

To view the timestamp of the file, you can use the ls -l command:

$ ls -l /var/lib/apt/periodic/update-success-stamp

The output will show the timestamp of the last update. If you only want to see the date and time, you can use the awk command to extract it:

$ ls -l /var/lib/apt/periodic/update-success-stamp | awk '{print $6" "$7" "$8}'

This will display the time in the format Jan 25 01:41.

Method 2: Checking the history.log File

If the /var/lib/apt/periodic/ directory is empty, you can try checking the /var/log/apt/history.log file. This file contains the history of apt commands, including apt-get update. You can use the ls -l command to view the timestamp of the file:

$ ls -l /var/log/apt/history.log

Method 3: Checking the pkgcache.bin File

For a more reliable method, you can check the timestamp of the /var/cache/apt/pkgcache.bin file. This file gets renewed after each update, so it can be used to determine the last time apt-get update was executed. You can use the ls -l command or the stat command to view the timestamp:

$ ls -l /var/cache/apt/pkgcache.bin | cut -d' ' -f6,7,8

or

$ stat /var/cache/apt/pkgcache.bin

Conclusion

Keeping track of when apt-get update was last run can be a useful tool for system administrators and users alike. It helps ensure that your system is up-to-date with the latest packages. In this tutorial, we have shown you three different methods to check the last time apt-get update was run on your Ubuntu system. Choose the method that best suits your needs.

What is the purpose of `apt-get update` command?

The apt-get update command is used to resynchronize the package index files on your Ubuntu system. It ensures that your system has the latest information about available packages and their versions.

How often should `apt-get update` be run?

It is recommended to run apt-get update regularly to ensure that your system is up-to-date. It is a good practice to run it before installing or updating any packages to make sure you have the latest package information.

Can I schedule automatic updates using `apt-get update`?

Yes, you can schedule automatic updates using tools like cron or systemd timers. By creating a scheduled task, you can ensure that apt-get update is run at specified intervals automatically.

What should I do if `apt-get update` fails?

If apt-get update fails, it could be due to network connectivity issues or incorrect repository configurations. Check your internet connection and verify that your /etc/apt/sources.list file has correct repository URLs. You can also try running apt-get update with sudo to ensure proper permissions.

Are there any alternatives to `apt-get update`?

Yes, there are alternative package managers like aptitude and apt. These package managers also have commands to update the package index, such as aptitude update and apt update. However, apt-get update is the most commonly used command for updating package information on Ubuntu systems.

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