What do the file settings in Synaptic Package Manager delete? As in what are temp and history files for? Do you need them for anything at all?

1 Answer 1


The “Delete Cached Package Files” button deletes the packages stored in the system’s package cache (Dir::Cache::archives and its partial subdirectory, typically /var/lib/apt/cache). These aren’t necessary for normal system use, they’re only useful if you ever need to re-install a package — they’ll save a download, or in cases where a package has been dropped from repositories, enable the re-installation which wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

(I use apt-get autoclean along with APT::Clean-Installed set to false to trim my package cache while still ensuring I can re-install packages; apt-get autoclean corresponds to the “Only delete packages which are no longer available” setting in Synaptic.)

The history files are used in the History browser in the File menu. They aren’t necessary for anything else.

  • What does what does apt-get autoclean do? How is it different from apt autoclean? Nov 26, 2017 at 21:06
  • apt autoclean does the same as apt-get autoclean: it deletes package files which are no longer available in repositories, from the download cache. Disabling APT::Clean-Installed ensures that packages which are still installed are preserved in the cache. Nov 26, 2017 at 21:57
  • Then removing a program removes the recommended packages as well? I thought that is what autoclean did. Nov 26, 2017 at 22:09
  • That’s autoremove, not autoclean. autoremove deals with installed packages, autoclean deals with the package cache. And removing a package won’t automatically remove recommended packages (that’s why you need autoremove). You can use aptitude instead, that does remove associated packages automatically (if nothing else needs them). Nov 26, 2017 at 22:15
  • So what you do is set it to leave downloaded packages in the cache so you can reinstall them? How do I set it to false? Nov 26, 2017 at 22:48

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