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Solving “Permission Denied” Errors When Running apt-get on Ubuntu with sudo

Ubuntu 8

In this article, we will discuss how to solve the “Permission Denied” errors that you may encounter when running apt-get on Ubuntu with sudo. This error typically occurs when you try to execute a command without the necessary permissions, and it can be frustrating if you’re not sure how to resolve it.

Quick Answer

To solve "Permission Denied" errors when running apt-get on Ubuntu with sudo, make sure to include sudo before each command when chaining them with &&. This ensures that all commands have the necessary root privileges and can access the required files and directories.

Understanding the Error

Before we delve into the solution, it’s important to understand what’s happening when you see this error. In Ubuntu, apt-get is a powerful package management command-line tool that is used to handle packages. It provides commands for installing and removing software and managing dependencies.

When you run apt-get with sudo, you’re asking the system to execute the command as the root user, which has the highest level of permissions. However, if you see a “Permission Denied” error, it means that the system is blocking you from executing the command, even as the root user.

This usually happens when you use the && operator to chain two commands together, like this:

sudo apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

In this command, sudo apt-get update updates the list of available packages and their versions, but it doesn’t actually install or upgrade any packages. The && operator tells the system to execute the second command (apt-get upgrade) only if the first command succeeds.

However, the problem is that the sudo permission doesn’t extend to the second command. So, when the system tries to execute apt-get upgrade without sudo, it results in a “Permission Denied” error.

The Solution

To solve this issue, you need to add sudo before the second command as well:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

By adding sudo before both apt-get commands, you ensure that they both have root privileges. This allows them to access the necessary files and directories, and it should resolve the “Permission Denied” error.


In conclusion, remember that when chaining commands with &&, you need to ensure that all commands have the necessary permissions. If you’re running into a “Permission Denied” error when using sudo apt-get, make sure to include sudo before each command.

By understanding how permissions work in Ubuntu and how to correctly use sudo with apt-get, you can avoid these errors and make your system administration tasks go more smoothly. If you want to learn more about sudo and apt-get, the Ubuntu man pages are a great resource.

Why am I getting a “Permission Denied” error when running `apt-get` with `sudo`?

The "Permission Denied" error occurs when you try to execute a command without the necessary permissions. In the case of apt-get on Ubuntu, it usually happens when you use the && operator to chain commands and forget to include sudo before each command. Adding sudo before both apt-get commands should resolve the error.

What does `sudo` do?

sudo is a command in Ubuntu that allows you to execute a command as the root user or another user with elevated privileges. It stands for "superuser do" and is commonly used to perform administrative tasks that require higher permissions than your current user has.

How do I chain commands with `&&`?

To chain commands with &&, you simply separate them with && and ensure that each command is properly formatted. For example: command1 && command2. This means that command2 will only execute if command1 succeeds.

Can I use `sudo` with any command?

Yes, you can use sudo with most commands in Ubuntu. However, it’s important to exercise caution when using sudo as it grants you elevated privileges. Make sure you understand the command you’re running and its potential consequences before using sudo.

Where can I find more information about `sudo` and `apt-get`?

The Ubuntu man pages are a great resource for learning more about sudo and apt-get. They provide detailed documentation on the commands, their options, and usage examples.

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