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When I try to get certain libraries, I get the following message

E: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'sudo dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem.

It takes too long for it to run and I let my computer run overnight but woke up to a blank screen that does not respond. Is this the only way to get dpkg to work right? I'm not sure if its a memory issue as well.

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Run a memory test. When your computer boots, hold down the Shift key to fire up the Grub menu, and select the memtest entry. – Gilles May 16 '12 at 20:14

Yes you will need to run

sudo dpkg --configure -a 

if you want to install anything else on your system. As far as it taking a long my experience it shouldn't take long at all, but the problem maybe more akin to a harddrive issue than memory.

If you would like to check the memory the ubuntu installation media has a memory checker called memtest. You can run it by booting to the installation media and hitting enter when the initial screen comes up. This will give you the option to change the language ,among other things, but the item you want is "Test Memory".

If memtest finds an error you will get information regarding the location of the fault.

Good luck

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