Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've seen some folks have errors relating to files in /var/lib/dpkg/updates. All I can find about the directory is that the files in it are numbered 0000, 0001 etc. and that the error messages often mention "trouble parsing one of the files".

/var/lib/dpkg/updates folder is empty on my system, so I can't see what's in the files. I've not been able to find information about what is stored in this directory, only many forum posts and bug reports mentioning the directory.

So, what is this directory for?

share|improve this question
Just my luck... the directory is empty on my system too :( – Nathan Osman Jul 30 '10 at 22:33
It seems something is kept there temporarily during upgrades. But I'm not brave enough to stop an upgrade midway to find out what's there. ;-) – mac9416 Jul 30 '10 at 23:03
up vote 9 down vote accepted

During the update dpkg stores status of the installation/update there. This is how an incomplete installation process can be detected and decided what are the next packages going to be installed, So that the system can ask to use dpkg-configure -a if anything happens before completing installation or update.

Normally after a successful installation, the directory should be empty.

share|improve this answer
So it's sort of a log that dpkg can use to pick up where it left off. Very smart, but I feel sorry for the guy who had to code it. ;-) Thanks! – mac9416 Jul 31 '10 at 0:58

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.