Over the time I installed many i386 packages, which I no longer need. How can I clean up the system and stay only with the amd64 packages?


If they are not in your way, I would leave them where they are.

If you insist on deletion, use dpkg -l | grep i386 to create a list of i386-packages. You can delete these after careful checking with something like sudo apt-get purge <package-name>.

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    Except that aptitude is broken on multiarch, so that won't work so well :P – tumbleweed Mar 19 '12 at 19:43
  • apt-get purge <package-name> should still work, though. – Eliah Kagan Jun 15 '12 at 9:53
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    "after careful checking" -- that is vague. Please be more clear. – kevinarpe Feb 9 '14 at 11:06
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    i have a i386 system on a usb sometimes i use it on amd64 machines , now i just wanted to do the inverse , so after running dpkg -l | grep amd64 i got an i386 pkg in my list which is amd64-microcode 3.20160316.3 i386 , i think that the ':' in the grep pattern is important ! (dpkg -l | grep ":amd64") – Yunus May 24 '17 at 16:13

The other automated solutions are dangerous and not always working (1), so here another way

sudo aptitude purge `dpkg --get-selections | grep ":i386" | awk '{print $1}'`


sudo apt-get purge `dpkg --get-selections | grep ":i386" | awk '{print $1}'`

(Try to use always and only one of the tools. Since aptitude is better when having dependency trouble, I prefer that.)

Good idea to also

dpkg --remove-architecture i386

and maybe

dpkg --print-foreign-architectures

(1) The other commands also lists packages having only i386 in their name (although they are for 64bit architecture), the regular expression didn't work and dpkg shows packages which are already removed, but still have configuration files left (dpkg -l shows "rc" instead of "ii" as status).

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    Since you're using awk anyway, you may as well get rid of the grep invocation. Also, $() is preferable instead of backticks. I just got rid of my i386 packages using this command based on the one you gave: sudo apt purge $(dpkg --get-selections | awk '$1 ~ /:i386$/ { print $1 }') – scy Jan 26 '17 at 23:54

I blitzed all my 32bit packages like this:

sudo apt-get remove `dpkg --get-selections | grep i386 | awk '{print $1}'`
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    how to make these kind of commands, i know apt-get and grep but whats awk'{print $1}', just want to know. – Sukupa91 Nov 27 '13 at 2:07
  • awesome, and I was able to remove the i386 architecture now, but when I do dpkg -l | grep i386 to check the packages are still there any ideas, also +1 for the previouse comment and my guess it's related to shell scripting techniques – Ismail Marmoush Jan 10 '14 at 12:07
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    No responses probably because comments aren't the place for an awk tutorial. That bit of awk is printing only the first field of each line being piped in. Awk's default field separator is a space, " ". – rthbound Jan 15 '16 at 17:45
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    Finish it off with sudo dpkg --remove-architecture i386 – Serge Stroobandt Apr 11 '19 at 10:05

The debian's multiarch guide mentions this command: apt-get purge ".*:<arch>", which would looks like this for i386:

sudo apt-get purge ".*:i386"

You can then remove the architecture from dpkg:

sudo dpkg --remove-architecture i386

In case anyone is wondering, there's a much more sane and graceful way to do this. The last previous answer hopes to do the same thing, but that search fails since architectures are not actually part of package names, except in special cases.

as root (or with sudo) run:

aptitude remove ~i~ri386

If you don't use aptitude over apt-get already, do. It's really excellent. You can find a list of aptitude's search terms here.


There is another way of lower risk:

sudo apt-get remove "^.*:i386$"

This will specifically match only packages ending with ":i386", which is the standard naming convention for all i386 architecture Debian packages.

  • why remove over purge? – Lotus Oct 7 '15 at 15:16
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    @Lotus: I am unaware of the difference. Can you please explain? Maybe we can update this answer to improve it. – kevinarpe Oct 8 '15 at 1:41
  • purge takes the configuration files also and any remant directories iirc – Lotus Oct 8 '15 at 2:11
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    @Lotus I used purge and it worked on 14.04. This only worked for me after removing the quotation marks and carret. sudo apt-get purge .*:i386 – Antonios Hadjigeorgalis Mar 9 '16 at 17:25

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