I'm trying to run this command in the terminal:

sudo apt install software-properties-common

This is the error message I get:

E: Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend - open (11: Resource temporarily unavailable)  
E: Unable to acquire the dpkg frontend lock (/var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend),   
 is another process using it?
  • 2
    Perhaps reboot and try again. In my case, I tried to update using CLI command while the update was already ongoing and received the same error.
    – Allen King
    Jan 9, 2022 at 18:21
  • I'm not an expert but i will tell you what worked for me. first, this website has helped me solve it. itsfoss.com/could-not-get-lock-error but another thing i did, is that i typed "sudo" before all the commands. for example; ps aux | grep -i apt > sudo ps aux | grep -i apt there are 3 solution types in this article. if it doesn't work make sure to reconfigure and update the package before. same issue happened to me when i installed tools from github which i was installing normally, however i did type sudo apt install <Tool>, then sudo git clone <URL>..., and so on.
    – Maie
    May 16 at 6:32

4 Answers 4


This may happen if

  1. 'Synaptic Package Manager' or 'Software Updater' is open.

  2. Some apt command is running in Terminal.

  3. Some apt process is running in background.

For above wait for the process to complete. If this does not happen run in terminal:

sudo killall apt apt-get

If none of the above works, remove the lock files. Run in terminal: (Note that this can seriously break your system.)

sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/lock
sudo rm /var/cache/apt/archives/lock
sudo rm /var/lib/dpkg/lock*

then reconfigure the packages. Run in terminal:

sudo dpkg --configure -a


sudo apt update

That should do the job.

  • 13
    @CaTx This link will tell you what is happening behind provided solution itsfoss.com/could-not-get-lock-error Sep 12, 2019 at 13:32
  • 4
    In my case the machine had started just a little earlier and I got this problem. I tried again after about ten minutes (as I was looking at the situation) That time it ran ok. I vote this answer up but with a suggestion to emphasize to just try waiting before unlocking. And @Manish Jain -thanks! that reminder to gather a little info will help next time I have a similar issue! Cheers! Nov 14, 2019 at 12:59
  • 1
    Some news about the UBUNTU 18 Livepatch? Dec 9, 2019 at 9:43
  • Follow this for detailed: solution itsfoss.com/could-not-get-lock-error, it resolved my issue as well Mar 18, 2020 at 13:56
  • 3
    Did all of this, still getting the error.
    – Shayan
    Apr 7, 2020 at 14:37

Rebooting your os can kill all the incomplete process.

try sudo reboot

Once the system rebooted, should work fine.

  • reboot worked for me as well. After rebooting I was prompted to run sudo dpkg --configure -a. All fine now and I didn't have to manually sudo rm any files.
    – mcExchange
    Mar 2 at 11:04

Killing the process for me - for example, I got this error:

'E: Could not get lock /var/lib/apt/lists/lock. It is held by process 7913 (jammy)'

Running sudo kill 7913 worked for me.

  • 3
    Killing the process should be done only after the user is ABSOLUTELY sure that no other package managers are active. Else that user could easily destroy their system. The lockfile is there to protect the system -- don't disable that protection lightly.
    – user535733
    Sep 24, 2022 at 1:26
  • kill only worked with a -9 argument after it. Oct 4 at 14:05

What worked for me was to close the opened terminal or bash shell, re-open it and try again.

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