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How To Fix dpkg Error [2] in Ubuntu: A Comprehensive Guide

Ubuntu 19

If you’re an Ubuntu user, you might have encountered the dreaded dpkg error [2]. This error can be frustrating, but don’t worry, it’s fixable. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to resolve this issue.

Quick Answer

To fix dpkg error [2] in Ubuntu, you can try configuring dpkg using the command sudo dpkg --configure -a. If the error persists, identify and remove the problematic file using sudo rm -rf /var/lib/dpkg/info/linux-headers-3.16.0-31.*. Finally, fix any remaining dependencies with sudo apt-get -f install. If these steps don’t work, it may be necessary to replace the hard drive if it has bad sectors.

Understanding dpkg Error [2]

Before we delve into the solution, it’s important to understand what dpkg error [2] is. Dpkg is the Debian package management system used by Ubuntu, and error [2] typically indicates a problem with the package installation process. This could be due to a corrupted package, a problem with the dpkg status file, or even a hardware issue.

Step 1: Configure dpkg

The first step in resolving this issue is to attempt to configure dpkg. This can be done by opening a terminal and running the following command:

sudo dpkg --configure -a

The sudo command allows you to run commands with administrative privileges, while dpkg --configure -a will attempt to configure all packages that are unpacked but not yet configured.

Step 2: Remove the Problematic File

If the error persists, the next step is to identify and remove the file causing the error. For example, if the problematic package is linux-headers-3.16.0-31, you can remove the associated files with the following command:

sudo rm -rf /var/lib/dpkg/info/linux-headers-3.16.0-31.*

Here, rm is the remove command, -rf is a combination of options that tell the system to remove files and directories recursively and to ignore non-existent files, and /var/lib/dpkg/info/linux-headers-3.16.0-31.* is the path to the files associated with the problematic package.

Step 3: Fix Remaining Dependencies

After removing the problematic file, you can use the apt-get -f install command to fix any remaining dependencies and complete the installation or removal process:

sudo apt-get -f install

In this command, apt-get is the package handling utility, -f stands for “fix-broken”, and install is the command to install packages.

Dealing with Persistent Errors

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, it is possible that your hard drive has bad sectors. In this case, you should consider replacing the drive as soon as possible. However, if you need to keep the system up and running until you can replace the drive, you can try clearing the MD5 checksums related to the problematic package. Unfortunately, the specific steps for clearing the checksums are beyond the scope of this guide.


Hopefully, this guide has helped you resolve the dpkg error [2] in Ubuntu. Remember, it’s important to exercise caution when manipulating system files. Always double-check the commands before executing them and consider creating a backup of important data before making any changes. For more detailed information, you can refer to the Ubuntu Community Help Wiki or the Ask Ubuntu forum.

What is dpkg error [2]?

Dpkg error [2] is an error that occurs during the package installation process in Ubuntu. It typically indicates a problem with the package installation, which could be caused by a corrupted package, an issue with the dpkg status file, or even a hardware problem.

What does the command `sudo` do?

The sudo command is used in Ubuntu to run commands with administrative or superuser privileges. It allows you to execute commands that require elevated privileges, such as system configuration or installation commands.

How can I clear MD5 checksums related to a problematic package?

Clearing MD5 checksums related to a problematic package is a more advanced task and beyond the scope of this guide. It involves modifying system files and should be approached with caution. It is recommended to seek guidance from the Ubuntu Community Help Wiki or the Ask Ubuntu forum for detailed instructions on clearing MD5 checksums.

Should I backup my data before attempting to fix dpkg error [2]?

Yes, it is always a good practice to create a backup of important data before making any changes to system files or attempting to fix errors. While the steps provided in this guide are generally safe, there is always a possibility of unintended consequences. Having a backup ensures that you can restore your data if anything goes wrong during the troubleshooting process.

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