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Old 01-08-2009, 01:10 PM   #1
Mountain Man 77
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Unhappy Ubuntu 'dpkg--configure-a' E: dpkg was interrupted error

I am very new to linux, and frankly I do not know a whole lot about computers in general, as I'm entirely self taught, and that was all on windows. I really like the idea and concept of linux and ubuntu, and am in the process of learning. I have recently installed Ubuntu 8.04 LTS on an ex Vista computer at work (upon the urging by the boss). I can give more information on the system if needed. However, I think the problem may not be with the system. This is what I got. I installed the o/s and started downloading the updates from the list. As I tried to install Samba and Wine, all of a sudden things started to become complicated. As I'm doing this at work, and everyone is excited to 'play' with this new o/s, someone tried to download limewire as well, when I was away. I didn't see the error messages at that point, but they apparently had some message about java, and tried to shut everything down. Now when I came back, I get this message:

E: dpkg was interrupted you must manually run 'dpkg -- configure - a' to correct.
Problem E: _cache->open()failed

So, not knowing much about linux and even less about using the terminal, I did open the terminal, and typed in: dpkg--configure-a and hit enter. Then it tells me that that command is not found.

I have followed some other posts that deal with this problem, however, all the remedies that worked for them did not work for me. I could use some help, please. My other option is to just reinstall the o/s all over and start new. Thank you.
Old 01-08-2009, 01:12 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum. Run Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal and enter
sudo dpkg --configure - a
Old 01-08-2009, 01:13 PM   #3
Registered: Dec 2007
Location: New England, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, Slackware 12.2
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Type in
sudo dpkg -- configure - a
lol I was too slow

Last edited by SkinnerC; 01-08-2009 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Edit
Old 01-08-2009, 02:42 PM   #4
Mountain Man 77
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Thank you both for your replies. This indeed gets me into another menu:

dpkg: need an action option

Type dpkg --help for help about installing and deinstalling packages[*];
Use `dselect' or `aptitude' for user-friendly package management;
Type dpkg -Dhelp for a list of dpkg debug flag values;
Type dpkg --force-help for a list of forcing options;
Type dpkg-deb --help for help about manipulating *.deb files;
Type dpkg --licence for copyright licence and lack of warranty (GNU GPL)[*].

Options marked[*] produce a lot of output - pipe it through `less' or `more' !

I used 'aptitude' and it gave me a list of security updates, Installed Packages, Not Installed Packages, Virtual Packages, and Tasks.

Now, I know this is going to make me sound very silly...but I don't even know what I'm looking for or what caused the error to appear in the first place. That's why it is hard for me to know where to go from here. Not having any programming or much computer knowledge in general, I'm a little lost. Any ideas on how I could figure out what is causing it so I can fix it? I'm sorry, this probably sounds like a silly question.
Thank you.
Old 01-08-2009, 02:46 PM   #5
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Enter the command as it should be: sudo dpkg --configure -a (note the absence of spaces before "configure" and "a").

Last edited by jay73; 01-08-2009 at 02:47 PM.
Old 01-08-2009, 02:56 PM   #6
Mountain Man 77
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ok, thanks's doing something with that. I'm going to see if it changed anything. Thank you so much.
I got so much to learn, and so little time to learn it in! The help is awesome, however.
Take care.

Allright, that worked. It is installing more updates now. However, it is telling me that I have one broken package, and that I have to use the 'Broken' filter to locate it. I will now undertake an endeavor to do so....
Thanks again for the help.

Last edited by Mountain Man 77; 01-08-2009 at 03:01 PM.
Old 07-19-2009, 02:41 AM   #7
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Hey Guys

OK i had this same error. Computer froze while updating.

I tried all the fixes i could find (sudo nano /var/lib/dpkg/updates/0012) which didn't work. Kept getting a parse error msg on running: sudo dpkg --configure -a

People had mentioned their being padding in their broken files, but i couldn't find any in mine. When i saw mine it was just gibberish.

I navigated to the /var/lib/dpkg/updates/ directory and saw that the last 3 files were "unknown" in file type. So i then deleted them from within the terminal:

cd /var/lib/dpkg/updates/
sudo rm 0012
sudo rm 0013
sudo rm tmp.i

then ran:
sudo dpkg --configure -a

without problems.

Hope this helps.
Old 05-25-2010, 10:52 AM   #8
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I also had the updates freeze while installing on Ubuntu 10.4 LTS (sudo aptitude upgrade). The /var/lib/dpkg/updates/ directory was empty, so I rebooted and then ran the following:

sudo aptitude clean
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude safe-upgrade

This seems to have fixed the problem for me.

Best of luck.
Old 02-21-2015, 10:59 PM   #9
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Thumbs up Perfect Solution

Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
Enter the command as it should be: sudo dpkg --configure -a (note the absence of spaces before "configure" and "a").
This is good solution, everyone can follow this solution to solve this problem.


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