I've installed Kali Linux (normally I use ArchLinux, but I need Kali for work) and every time I want to upgrade, a few packages can't upgrade and are kept back. To force them to update I have to manually select them and perform an installation.

To update, I use the following command:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

Even from a clean installation the problem persists. Is there someone with the same problem? How can I solve it permanently?

  • Please edit your question and add the output of the commands you show, so we can understand what's going on.
    – terdon
    Apr 14, 2016 at 12:36

5 Answers 5


The apt-get upgrade command you have used will only upgrade packages that need no new packages as dependencies.

You can use apt-get dist-upgrade to include new packages in the set of candidates. Be aware though that using dist-upgrade will also delete packages that have been obsoleted by other, possibly newer, packages.

  • Another important difference between upgrade and dist-upgrade is that apt-get upgrade will NOT remove packages, even if doing so is required to upgrade another package (thus preventing that package from being upgraded). apt-get dist-upgrade WILL remove packages if required to install or upgrade other packages.
    – cas
    Apr 14, 2016 at 23:25
  • @cas yes, agreed. Answer amended; if you don't like what I've added please feel free to change it. Apr 15, 2016 at 12:53
  • 1
    «Be aware though that using dist-upgrade will also delete packages that have been obsoleted by other» Has it ever been a problem from experience? Or can it actually be an advantage to remove unuseful packages.
    – tuxayo
    May 4, 2018 at 11:12
  • @tuxayo it only really matters if you have installed software outside of package management that depends on libraries, etc., in these obsoleted packages Jul 2, 2020 at 7:07

According to debian-administration some packages are being "kept back" beacause:

There we can see four packages haven't been upgraded, even though newer packages are available. This is because two new packages were introduced, and these upgrades depend upon it.

To fix this you must run :

apt-get dist-upgrade

What about

apt-get update && \
apt-get upgrade && \
apt-get dist-upgrade && \


  • 6
    Is this a question or an answer?
    – user62916
    Mar 17, 2018 at 14:21

Hi its best to first check the repo and then do the same below may help you..

    cat /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://http.kali.org/kali sana main non-free contrib
deb http://security.kali.org/kali-security/ sana/updates main contrib non-free

apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade



If you keep upgrade overnight then you will need

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade -y

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .