I've been trough all the similar questions I can find on here and elsewhere but still can't get a working solution for this.

Things I've tried:

apt-get install libc6:i386

This tries to remove most of the currently installed 64bit libraries that if run would leave the machine unusable.

I've run the following based on other questions/answers and still no joy:

dpkg --add-architecture i386
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade

All complete cleanly but don't change the output of trying to install the 32bit libraries.

The next option was to try:

apt-get install libc6-i386

Which returns:

The following packages have unmet dependencies,
 libc6-i386 : Depends: libc6 (= 2.23-0ubuntu3) but 2.23-0ubuntu10 is to be installed
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages

This error appears misleading as apt-mark showhold returns no packages.

The end goal here is to install Symantec's AV package which needs the 32bit libraries.


Make sure you have enabled all sections in Software & Updates and selected good mirror (I prefer Main server) in

  1. Ubuntu Software


  2. and security-updates in Updates:


Then sudo apt-get install libc6:i386 will be enough.

Or deeper:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install libc6:i386
sudo apt-get install -f

On my system libc:i386 is installed with version 2.23-0ubuntu10.

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  • 1
    Thanks, I'd tried flipping mirrors, but missed that who ever had done the initial install hadn't enabled any of the update repos (which is just nuts) – hardillb Apr 11 '18 at 10:08
  • As of Cosmic this is broken. – Reinderien Nov 25 '18 at 17:15
  1. Boot the Operating System into recovery mode

    Screenshot of recovery mode

  2. Select 'root -Drop to root shell prompt' in the Recovery menu

  3. Then

dpkg --add-architecture i386 -f (for force install)

apt-get update apt-get upgrade apt-get dist-upgrade

  1. Then reboot normally.

I was having the same problem because I installed some 3rd party packages which corrupted the dpkg and broke the dependencies. After trying all these answers I was gonna reinstall Ubuntu, it is when I got the idea to try Recovery mode. 😅😅😅

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  • I got same issue with same cause during my new install of Ubuntu 18, really helps. Thank you. – Robina Li Feb 4 at 21:25

First of all, make sure your backups are in order

Run the following:

apt-get upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade

You can make your machine support both i386 and amd64 by using

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

I solved the problem by downloading libc6:i386.deb from https://packages.ubuntu.com/bionic/libc6 and executing

sudo dpkg -i xxx1.deb

Try to install it normally, but if there are some errors about overwriting /xxx/xxx/doc/xxx/xxx,you can just ignore it by running:

sudo dpkg --force-overwrite -i xxx1.deb 

My Ubuntu version is 18.04, not the same as yours: make sure you select the correct download for your Ubuntu version

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