After playing around with manually installed boost versions to meet software dependencies, I did something stupid: I deleted by system boost libraries (the .so files) from /usr/lib/x86_64-linux.gnu/ . I have tried to remove and reinstall the libboost-all-dev package. I did not get error essages, but the library files were not restored. I have downloaded all the .deb files and installed them manually with dpkg, without success. How can I repair my system and recover the files?

  • Are you asking how to determine exactly which package provides a specific file?
    – user535733
    Jul 7, 2018 at 13:10
  • @user535733 I do not know what causes this, so if the files do not come with libboost-all-dev then yes, I'd like to know which other package provides the files. However, that seems implausible. I am facing a severely broken system, I don't want to setup anew, so all help is highly appreciated. The main question is why apt --reinstall install does not solve my problem.
    – tglas
    Jul 7, 2018 at 15:58
  • Please edit your question to include the missing filenames, including full paths, from the error messages.
    – user535733
    Jul 7, 2018 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


You should check which Boost-related packages do you have installed.

For example with dpkg -l | grep boost and then reinstall all of them with

sudo apt-get install --reinstall \
$(dpkg -l | grep ^ii.*boost | awk '{print $2}')
  • 1
    @Norbert Thank you so much, this one worked for me! You really saved my day!
    – tglas
    Jul 7, 2018 at 16:15

Try to reinstall the package libboost-all-dev along with its dependencies. You can find packages which libboost-all-dev depends on using the following command in terminal

sudo apt-cache depends libboost-all-dev

Then reinstall all of them

sudo apt install --reinstall libboost-all-dev <list_of_dependencies>

Or use two all-in-one commands (try both of them):

sudo apt-cache depends libboost-all-dev | grep '[ |](Depends): [^:]' | cut -d: -f2 | tr -d ' ' | xargs sudo apt --reinstall install -y


sudo apt-cache depends libboost-all-dev | grep '[ |]Depends: [^:]' | cut -d: -f2 | tr -d ' ' | xargs sudo apt --reinstall install -y
  • Thanks for the quick reply. This is pretty much along the lines of what I tried already. I got the list, the command apparently did something, but the files are not restored. Any idea how to debug this situation?
    – tglas
    Jul 7, 2018 at 8:23
  • Thanks, I tried both. The first did nothing, the second one did essentially the same as my attempt with the manually compiled dependency list - it loaded some stuff, but the libs did not come back. I worked around the problem in the meantime by compiling boost manually, putting the files in place, and creating a ton of symlinks by hand. However, I'd still like to understand what goes wrong...
    – tglas
    Jul 7, 2018 at 9:05

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