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I killed by mistake a dpkg process running in the background and I would like to reinstall all packages to be sure everything is allright.

First, I tried to get a list of all packages and reinstall them

dpkg --get-selections | grep -v deinstall | awk '{print $1}' > list.log
apt-get install --reinstall $(cat list.log)

But there are messages like :

E: Couldn't configure pre-depend debconf:i386 for console-setup:i386, probably a dependency cycle.

I tried apt-get -f install, without success.

As a last resort, I reinstalled all programs which failed the checksums :

dpkg -l | grep ^ii | awk '{ print $2 }' | xargs debsums -s -a

What should I do to reinstall everything ?

Edit : Problem solved. The issue was something else (see the comments). I understand it's something to avoid with Debian though.

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I recently had a crash while trying to install a package. When I rebooted and tried to reinstall that package, I received the message, "E: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem.". Running that command removed said package and it configuration files. I was then able to install the package from scratch. Try giving that command a go. – embedded.kyle Jun 12 '13 at 12:32
It didn't do anything, so I guess nothing is broken. I will try later to check if my driver issues are solved. – alex_reader Jun 12 '13 at 13:01

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try this, remembering that I do not tested it and prepending sudo whn needed:

dpkg --get-selections > selections
dpkg --clear-selections
dpkg --set-selections < selections
apt-get --reinstall dselect-upgrade


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My problem was completely different : I was not booting the correct kernel (!). I will accept your answer as it seems to do what I wanted (but untested also). – alex_reader Jun 12 '13 at 17:44
This won't work, and will completely break the system. Line 3 will uninstall apt, so it won't be possible to reinstall everything, afterwards. – rkjnsn Nov 4 '13 at 17:41
@rkjnsn: I updated the answer, check if it works. – Marco Sulla Nov 6 '13 at 9:17
Trying to do this nothing is being reinstalled, although the selections file is populated: pi@prodpi ~ $ sudo apt-get --reinstall dselect-upgrade Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done 0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded. any idea? – andig Jun 9 '14 at 8:42
One reason I think your code won't work is because the command dpkg --get-selections list also deinstall packages. – Ortomala Lokni Feb 5 at 23:20

In one of the ressouce cited by Lucas Malor, I found a script called populator which seem to be near the solution. If you set the packages selection variable to the list of all your packages

PKGLIST=$(dpkg --get-selections | grep -v deinstall| cut -f1)

you can then run the script and reinstall all packages but the system will probablaby have some problems. It would be better to test it in a virtual machine.

Here is a variant of the script from the link above:

# Script to pre-populate apt-get proxy for faster later downloads.
# It uses apt-get and wget to pull all the specified packages.

# Make sure only root can run our script
if [[ $EUID -ne 0 ]]; then
   echo "You're not root, are you?" 1>&2
   exit 1

# Specify wanted packages

# Clears out the local repository of retrieved package files
apt-get clean

# Resynchronize the package index files from their sources
apt-get update

# Re-install specified packages at the newest version. 
apt-get install --reinstall $PKGLIST
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When using RPM, in the event you cause a corruption in the package database, there is an option to rebuild this database, thus preventing you from having to go through basically a reinstall. As one user here pointed out this is done in Debian by dpkg --configure -a.

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The role of dpkg --configure -a is to configure all unpacked and unconfigured packages. See man pages of dpkg and dpkg-reconfigureand also – Ortomala Lokni Feb 5 at 22:42

Just in case, try to reinstall each package:

for i in $(cat list.log); do apt-get install --reinstall "$i"; done

You may wish to add answer yes to all questions option too.

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