Because of bug #693758 I'd like to prevent apt-get upgrade and Update Manager from updating the "libgtk2.0-0" package.

How can this be achieved?

  • @hhlp: But this question is asking about a package that was never installed. – Nathan Osman Oct 26 '11 at 18:17
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    @George Edison - There is also package holding, which allows you to not update the package. so Holding a package basically means you're telling the package manager to keep the current version no matter what. This is useful if more recent version of a currently working program breaks after an update. (you can't hold a package that was never installed also see my question is the same).... i tested that right now - see he said disable packages from the auto-update – hhlp Oct 26 '11 at 18:41

13 Answers 13



There are four ways of holding back packages: with dpkg, apt, aptitude or dselect.


Put a package on hold:

echo "<package-name> hold" | sudo dpkg --set-selections

Remove the hold:

echo "<package-name> install" | sudo dpkg --set-selections

Display the status of your packages:

dpkg --get-selections

Display the status of a single package:

dpkg --get-selections | grep "<package-name>"


Hold a package:

sudo apt-mark hold <package-name>

Remove the hold:

sudo apt-mark unhold <package-name>

Show all packages on hold:

sudo apt-mark showhold


With dselect, enter the [S]elect screen, find the package you wish to hold in its present state and press = or H. The changes will take effect immediately after exiting the [S]elect screen.

The following approaches are limited in that locking/holding a package within aptitude or synaptic doesn't affect apt-get/apt.


Hold a package:

sudo aptitude hold <package-name>

Remove the hold:

sudo aptitude unhold <package-name>

Locking with Synaptic Package Manager

Go to Synaptic Package Manager (System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager).

Click the search button and type the package name.

When you find the package, select it and go to the Package menu and select Lock Version.

Synaptic menu

That package will now not show in the update manager and will not be updated.

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    This also works to prevent a package from being installed. When installing devscripts, a lot packaged are pulled as Recommended packages. As I don't need a mailserver (postfix), I could disable the installation of it by running echo postfix hold | sudo dpkg --set-selections before running sudo apt-get install devscripts. This hold action persists only for this installation, after the installation the selections are reset. – Lekensteyn Aug 20 '11 at 10:47
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    Also worth pointing out, package holds do break upgrades and patches sometimes by creating a situation where there is no legal solution apt can calculate to a dependency. If package foo has a == < or <= dependency on libbar, then apt will refuse to upgrade libbar as well as foo. Over time, these cascading dependencies may grow to block a large number of updates, including important security updates. You'll need to either remove the hold and let the upgrade happen, or rebuild the packages you are holding against newer versions of its dependencies if this happens. – Stephanie Aug 2 '12 at 5:22
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    Just a note: apt-mark doesn't support hold in version 0.7.25 (Ubuntu Lucid) – Joril Apr 2 '13 at 7:30
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    This is especially useful when trying to hold back graphics drivers. For ATI users, apt-mark hold fglrx fglrx-amdcccle fglrx-dev && aptitude hold fglrx fglrx-amdcccle fglrx-dev. – earthmeLon Apr 18 '13 at 20:41
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    Currently synaptic and aptitude only lock packages within those programs. "Anything else that does package upgrades (read: Update Manager, apt-get, aptitude, etc) ignores this." From this question. – holocronweaver Jul 18 '14 at 12:16

To put a package "foo" on hold:

echo "foo hold" | dpkg --set-selections

In your case we are going to put wine on hold:

sudo -i
echo "wine hold" | dpkg --set-selections

To remove the hold:

sudo -i
echo "wine install" | dpkg --set-selections
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    Also note that while a package is on hold, you can install a specific version via apt-get install wine=1.2.3. Being on hold prevents apt-get (dist-)upgrade from changing it. – rcoup Jan 6 '15 at 2:24
  • @rcoup If you have an old version on hold, and then you manually upgrade to a new version without removing the hold as you describe, will the old version be kept in the cache so that you can go back to it? – cxrodgers Aug 24 '18 at 14:40
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    @cxrodgers the local cache (typically /var/cache/apt/archives) is independent of holds & upgrades & stuff, so all the versions you've downloaded will be there until you run apt-get [auto]clean – rcoup Aug 27 '18 at 12:31

I was looking for the same thing and after a lot of research I found that using the following syntax you can forbid one specific version but allow the next update:

Package: compiz-plugins-main
Pin: version 1:
Pin-Priority: -1

This goes into the /etc/apt/preferences file.

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    This is a much better way than preventing updates indefinitely – Eero Aaltonen Sep 30 '13 at 10:31
  • With this method, I think, chances are bigger to prevent ubuntu 'adware' like ubuntu one or the amazon icon from being reinstalled with the next release upgrade... – Daniel Alder Jan 10 '14 at 21:29

Install synaptic using sudo apt-get install synaptic.

Run using gksudo synaptic and on the search box locate the package you want to lock, ie: gedit

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From the package menu select Lock version:

enter image description here

And that is all, the version currently installed at the time of the lock will stay installed even during upgrades.

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    Please look at "Lock version is not as clever as it sounds. It's supposed to do what it says on the tin, lock the version... But it only locks it within Synaptic. Anything else that does package upgrades (read: Update Manager, apt-get, aptitude, etc) ignores this. This is probably buggy behaviour so I would expect this to be fixed in time." from askubuntu.com/questions/9607/what-does-lock-version-do. What is the current state? If something is locked in Synaptic, will other package managers "honor" the lock? – user25656 Dec 22 '11 at 12:09
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    vasa1: As of version 0.75.13, still no :( Same problem with aptitude. – syockit Nov 17 '12 at 7:25

Preventing a package from being installed is called "package holding" and it is very simple to do:

echo package_name hold | dpkg --set-selections

...where *package_name* is the name of the package you want to prevent from installation.

Note: the above command assumes root privileges. In other words, you will probably need to type sudo su before running it.

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  • Perfect this was the answer. Thank you. – asoundmove Feb 5 '11 at 3:38
  • s/sudo su/sudo -s/g (or sudo -i). (-i will give a login shell, -s will not). – derobert Jun 11 '15 at 19:57

Since some time apt-get is replaced by apt, so for example I want to prevent Firefox from updating to version above 56, because a lot of add-ons, like "Tab Groups" don't work any more with the new Firefox 57 (see "WebExtensions Update").

It is possible to hold more than one packages with one command and use wildcards.

Prevent Firefox from updating

sudo apt-mark hold firefox firefox-locale-*

If you should deside to unhold them later, that would be the command:

sudo apt-mark unhold firefox firefox-locale-*
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Everything you ever wanted to know about "holding" and "pinning" packages to specific versions: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/PinningHowto

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I synaptic you can freeze the version of a specific package I'm not a 100% sure as to whether this will amend apt-get but it will definately stop update manager.

To freeze a package select it in synaptic then open the package menu and select freeze version.

Hope this helps

edit: This question 16668 deals with a similar situation

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See bugs #75332, #158981 and #72806.

The summary is that hold at apt-get / aptitude level is not triggering hold status in dpkg (see bug 72806 especially) and update-manager reads status from dpkg.

workaround is run as root: echo "package hold" | dpkg --set-selections

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You can use on aptitude the "specific override", like this:

aptitude reinstall ~i oracle-java8-jre:

This is a one time only use of (not stored for future reinstalls), keep specific override, to reinstall all packages in your system but not oracle-java8-jre.

If you use a keep specific override, the package will momentarily be in a state of keep an aptitude will not try to install it.

A very good thing if you think your system was compromised some how.

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Adding details to @soger's comments relative to Ubuntu 16.04.

Ubuntu 16.04 does not have an existing /etc/apt/preferences file by default. If you don't have one currently, just create a new file and populate it with a stanza as @soger describes above to exclude the given package and its dependencies from updates.

Afterwards, run apt update and you're GTG. :0)

For example, I have an Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS server with embedded Intel video card and an NVidia card. The NVidia card is the only one used. The server also uses CUDA drivers. I had a problem where apt kept insisting


(Intel drivers) required an update, but it could not determine which version to install. This was driving me nuts, and I didn't need the Intel drivers anyway. I entered this text into the preferences file and flushed apt, problem solved.

Package: va-driver-all
Pin: release *
Pin-Priority: -1
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If you have Synaptic installed you can select the package and use the menu Package -> Lock Version to prevent it being updated.

You can install Synaptic with sudo apt-get install synaptic. I personally find it more useful than the Software Center... then again, I'm fairly old school. :)

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Occasionally one might want to hold back all the packages currently installed. Here's how.

First save the current state, so you can undo:

dpkg --get-selections > current_selections.txt

Then, to hold back all the packages:

dpkg --get-selections | sed -r "s/\tinstall/hold/" |dpkg --set-selections

Finally, when you want to revert back to the previous state:

dpkg --set-selections < current_selections.txt

One use case for this might be when creating a VM or Amazon AMI snapshot to migrate from a QA to production environment.

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