I had recently installed a version of VMWare Workstation that I had to uninstall and to look for instructions about doing so I came across this thread.

It stated writing this command to see if there was any version of VMWare Workstation installed:

vmware-installer -l

So what I want to know is, just like the quoted command for VMWare, how do I know about other commands that exist to let me know if a particular product is installed on my computer or not?

Thanks for looking in.


Type in a terminal:

dpkg --list | grep -i name-of-application
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  • Any chance you could break down the structure of the command to explain the semantics of the syntax? – Programming Noob May 31 '12 at 15:20
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    Search (grep) "name-of-application" ignoring case (-i) in (|) the output provided by "dpkg --list". Try "dpkg --list" alone to understand. – jasmines May 31 '12 at 15:27

Using aptitude

If a package was installed using the package manager, running the following command will display packages that are installed and that contain the word keyword in their name:

aptitude search '~i keyword'


aptitude search '~i samba'

This returns the following list of packages on my system:

i   samba                                                                  - SMB/CIFS file, print, and login server for Unix
i   samba-common                                                           - common files used by both the Samba server and client
i   samba-common-bin                                                       - common files used by both the Samba server and client
i   system-config-samba                                                    - GUI for managing samba shares and users

The i stands for installed.

Using which

You can also use which if you know the name of the executable you are searching for; it will return executable-name's path if it is installed, and nothing otherwise.

which executable-name


which system-config-samba

This returns the following on my system:


I therefore know that system-config-samba is installed, and I know where.

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  • Oh good. Thanks. That means it would require me to know the exact identifier of the program I'm looking for right? And what if I did not use aptitude? In this case, I had installed VMWare from a .bundle file. – Programming Noob May 31 '12 at 15:21
  • Yes, you would need to know the name of the executable file that you are looking for. – SirCharlo May 31 '12 at 15:49

mm you can also try to install again the application ($ sudo apt-get install "the name of the app) and if it is really installed it will appear "(the name of the program) it's already at the lastest version"

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