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I can't update my system because it freezes while installing a third-party update (zramswap-enabler)!

Sometimes I get the following message in Update manager:

Could not initialize the package information An unresolvable problem occurred while initializing the package information.

Please report this bug against the 'update-manager' package and include the following error message:

E:The package zramswap-enabler needs to be reinstalled, but I can't find an archive for it.

I tried to remove the zramswap-enabler, but it's impossible because I get the following message:

dpkg: error processing zramswap-enabler (--remove):
 Package is in a very bad inconsistent state - you should
 reinstall it before attempting a removal.
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

Actually I would really reinstall that package, but it is unable to do it! If I remove this third-party PPA then the system is warning me about a very very serious problem.

So why can I not install/reinstall/remove/update this package and why freezes the updater if I try to update?

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Edited out of the question and added as an answer.

  1. Make sure that your PPA is set up.

  2. Remove the broken package via the following command:

    sudo dpkg --remove --force-remove-reinstreq zramswap-enabler
  3. Install the package again:

    sudo apt-get install zramswap-enabler
  4. After restart (not necessary), you are able to install the updates correctly!

Actually you can fix any "Package is in a very bad inconsistent state” issues with this solution!

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This worked perfectly for me! Thanks! :D – CharlesL Dec 6 '15 at 12:47
@CharlesL Not a problem! Note that this answer is community wiki, and the solution was initially found by the author of the question, so I can't take credit for it. All I did was edit and reorganize to move it into an answer. – hexafraction Dec 6 '15 at 13:28

This worked for me after pretty much scouring the whole of AskUbuntu and Ubuntu forums! (Source). I'm running Lubuntu 14.04

sudo mv /var/lib/dpkg/info/<packagename>.* /tmp/
sudo dpkg --remove --force-remove-reinstreq <packagename>
sudo apt-get remove <packagename>
sudo apt-get autoremove && sudo apt-get autoclean
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Finally! This did the trick when dpkg and apt won't remove or reinstall a package – abaelter Mar 12 '15 at 7:51
Thanks. This saved me BIG TIME! I tried skipping the last line, followed by a apt-get install... and had to start over and do ALL four lines, then I could finally purge my package. :) – Ryan H. May 1 '15 at 7:43
The only true answer which works any time. – twicejr May 20 at 12:26

I had a situation worse than this. I had to remove the half-installed packages by forcing dependencies.

sudo dpkg --remove --force-remove-reinstreq --force-depends <package-name>

Then I had to reinstall them

sudo apt-get -f install

That should solve any issue. But please make sure you have network connectivity when you try to do this. Otherwise, you will have to go through even more trouble.

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The package doesn't exist in precise right now, you might want to try this ppa

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i added this PPA a month ago, but something went wrong. My problem is not about the PPA. I just want to install all updates, but i can't! – Benjamin Piller Jun 9 '12 at 20:34

i'd try cleaning the status of my installation before resorting to uninstalling whatever created the problem:

apt-get autoclean
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install -f

much better way to solve this in most cases and in at least one instance had helped me when the other way wouldn't work (because huge dependencies on the package to be removed)

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