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. Oct 26, 2011 at 18:17
  • 1
    @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, 2011 at 18:41
  • 1
    Since this question was asked before we moved from apt-get to apt, it's worth noting that apt-mark hold packagename is still the standard solution for this. Trying apt hold will just complain with E: Invalid operation hold
    – mwfearnley
    Jan 7, 2022 at 10:41

15 Answers 15



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


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 all your packages:

dpkg --get-selections

Display the status of a single package:

dpkg --get-selections <package-name>

Show all packages on hold:

dpkg --get-selections | grep "\<hold$"


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.

  • 7
    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, 2011 at 10:47
  • 8
    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, 2012 at 5:22
  • 2
    Just a note: apt-mark doesn't support hold in version 0.7.25 (Ubuntu Lucid)
    – Joril
    Apr 2, 2013 at 7:30
  • 2
    I can confirm that sudo apt-mark hold/unhold currently works in Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus). I held some obsolete packages and then executed sudo apt-get dist-upgrade in order to see if they would be upgraded, but the held packages were not upgraded. By the way, you can hold/unhold several packages at once. Example: sudo apt-mark hold thunar thunar-dbg thunar-data libthunarx-2-0 libthunarx-2-dev. Nice! Sep 3, 2016 at 4:20
  • 2
    Could someone here define the difference between holding and locking? Oct 23, 2017 at 22:31

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.

  • 16
    This is a much better way than preventing updates indefinitely Sep 30, 2013 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... Jan 10, 2014 at 21:29
  • This method also prevents Aptitude from reporting that a package is "Upgradable" (assuming an older version is being used than is available in the repo's)
    – Digger
    Oct 8, 2020 at 21:14
  • 2
    @Digger but once a newer version appears, I mean newer than the one pinned to -1, aptitude will once again report the package as upgradeable.
    – soger
    Oct 9, 2020 at 20:05
  • After using this, you can check with apt list --upgradable. If you need to prevent multiple packages, see superuser.com/a/678411/316381 or just created multiple files in the folder /etc/apt/preferences.d/
    – Phlogi
    Jan 9, 2023 at 6:40

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
  • 3
    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, 2015 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, 2018 at 14:40
  • 3
    @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, 2018 at 12:31

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

enter image description here

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.

  • 11
    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, 2011 at 12:09
  • 2
    vasa1: As of version 0.75.13, still no :( Same problem with aptitude.
    – syockit
    Nov 17, 2012 at 7:25
  • As of 0.84.3 (Jan '21) it still does not use apt-mark
    – Force
    Jan 8, 2021 at 0:20

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.

  • Perfect this was the answer. Thank you.
    – asoundmove
    Feb 5, 2011 at 3:38
  • s/sudo su/sudo -s/g (or sudo -i). (-i will give a login shell, -s will not).
    – derobert
    Jun 11, 2015 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-*

Everything you ever wanted to know about "holding" and "pinning" packages to specific versions: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/PinningHowto


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


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

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


Just because it was not mentioned here, the KDE tool Muon has an option similar to Synaptic's:

enter image description here

enter image description here


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 and aptitude will not try to install it.

A very good thing if you think your system was compromised some how as you can reinstall everything in just one punch card.


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. :)


To keep a package at the currently-installed version and prevent it from being automatically upgraded, you can add an APT preference fragment to /etc/apt/preferences.d like this:

Package: vim
Pin: release a=now
Pin-Priority: 1001

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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