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Every few years I come to a point where my Ubuntu gets rather bloated, as it is filling up with a lots of packages that I never use. So the goal is to roll the list of installed packages back to what Ubuntu ships by default and then reinstall everything I feel missing (as that's faster then trying to sort out which packages are unused). How do I do that? How can I find out if a given package is part of the default install or not?

Or simply put: Where can I find a complete list of packages that Ubuntu installs by default?

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You can install Ubuntu in a virtual machine (e.g. VirtualBox). Then run:

dpkg --get-selections >installed_packages.txt

Your installed packages are listed in the installed_packages.txt file.

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gtkorphan can be used to remove packages that have been orphaned/have no dependencies.

sudo apt-get install gtkorphan

Be careful as some top level packages such as ubuntu-standard and linux-headers will also be displayed and should not be removed. gtk-orphan also allows you to purge left over configuration files from removed packages.

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