I wanted to remove and reinstall python2.7 interpreter on 12.04

But when I did sudo apt-get remove python2.7, The crazy terminal started to remove everything!!! Any idea how I can restore whatever I've removed?

  • now my unity UI is no longer working, ? icons starts to populate the UI...
    – alvas
    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:07
  • 2
    now nothing is working, i have to work on windows...
    – alvas
    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:23
  • Can you boot to the Ubuntu even in the console?
    – Anwar
    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:30
  • recovery console works but even apt-get goes crazy with errors...
    – alvas
    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:40
  • Actually, core tools do not have much dependencies beside C libs. Both apt/aptitude does not depends on python. apt just suggests python. Honestly, I was in doubt about that so I tried U12.04 in VBox, uninstalled python2.7 as you did, reboot, unable to login, switch to tty6, I was able reinstall gedit (dep on python) using apt-get, even aptitude is working well. apt-get install ubuntu-desktop should solve such case. Probably, apt got into unclean state after uninstalling python2.7 was interrupted. Could you post the output/errors you got when running sudo apt-get install python2.7
    – user.dz
    Oct 4, 2014 at 15:17

9 Answers 9


While reinstalling Ubuntu is probably the easiest way, it's worth pointing out that it's possible to recover without reinstalling everything.

To do this, manually download the python2.7 package (and its dependencies), and manually install them using dpkg (bypassing APT, which requires Python). Once that's installed, apt should work again, and so apt-get install ubuntu-desktop will restore your system. (If apt-get still doesn't work, you might also need to download and install any missing dependencies.)

In the future, if you need to reinstall a package, instead use

sudo apt-get install --reinstall python2.7


sudo aptitude reinstall python2.7

which reinstalls the package without having to remove the dependencies.

  • 9
    BTW, aptitude is gone after removing python. =)
    – alvas
    Oct 14, 2012 at 11:42
  • in case it does not installs the ubuntu-desktop, installing it manually is a good idea. In my case i ran the python installation with --reinstall arg, but ubuntu-desktop was not there, then i install it using sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop. It will take a while :) Jan 17, 2018 at 10:19
  • This reinstall command was also useful when running pip was throwing some error. The reinstall fixed it.
    – Nav
    Jan 7, 2019 at 13:00

Removing Python is not a good idea as much of Ubuntu depends on it. You may have seen a warning telling you which packages depend on python and thus will be removed with Python. When proceeding you end up with a quite stripped down OS.

Reinstalling Ubuntu would now be the easiest and safest way to get it back. Take care not to delete your HOME when you do so.

  • 3
    I am not sure, but I think, he can restore the PC if he have still access to TTY. sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop should do the job
    – Anwar
    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:36
  • any idea how i could reinstall on the root console? that's the only thing accessible now from my ubuntu, how could i reinstall using wubi from windows? (i've backuped my files using ext2read from windows)
    – alvas
    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:37
  • 1
    @Anwar I do not think that he will be able to do that, as there are so many pieces of software that depend on python, that it might be impossible to reinstall them all. And I am not talking about the ubuntu desktop. Sep 13, 2012 at 6:45
  • @Anwar: Applications other than from ubuntu-desktop may depend on Python. They were likely removed as well.
    – Takkat
    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:47
  • @NlightNFotis and Takkat, yes i just seen that apt also depends on Python. Thanks.
    – Anwar
    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:47

If it's not too late for anyone, or if you have come across this problem lately, this is how I got it running:

I followed Mechanical snail's advice and downloaded all the packages using Synaptic. I selected all the relevant packages, basically everything with "python", "python2", "python3", "apt", "python-apt", etc., that was already installed in my computer, tagged them for reinstallation, and when I hit apply, I made sure I downloaded them only.

Then, under root, I went into the /var/cache/apt/archives folder and ran the following command to manually re-install everything I downloaded (you will see all the packages you downloaded with Synaptic in here):

dpkg --unpack *.deb

Anyway, I was getting this apt_pkg error whenever I would get an error message from a Python script in Aptana, and yesterday when I was trying to add a repo. Now at least I can add the repo with no problem, but I'm still getting the apt_pkg error whenever there is an error in my Python scripts...

Running the script outside of Aptana by calling python3.2 or python3 which points at 3.2 works (meaning I get the script's error without the apt_pkg error), but if I run it with python3.3 then the error is back.


I also had the same problem. And I was able to fix it going to ctrl+alt+f1, logged in with my username and password then:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop

And it reinstalled most (if not all) the deleted files (along with unity and terminal) :D

  • same for me with cinnamon
    – user128334
    Sep 4, 2013 at 19:10
  • 1
    amazing! my apt-get fails to work after i apt-get remove python...
    – alvas
    Sep 18, 2013 at 12:55

In a fit of senseless haste I removed python 2.7 and it removed a lot of packages that were dependent on it. I could not even launch terminal.

I dropped to tty1 and did what Lois Mari Ang Laput suggested

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop

I got back the desktop and could launch terminal. Packages like shutter, mysql-workbench, that were removed needed to be reinstalled.

I checked the history in /var/log/apt and reinstalled all packages that were removed.


You need to execute this: apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
and then apt-get install gdm. When asked lightdm or gdm select gdm.
both as root or using sudo

  • by the way, once you apt-get remove python, apt-get will fail to work and complains endlessly...
    – alvas
    Sep 18, 2013 at 12:54
  • not if you are fast enough and stop this procedure that kills your entire ubuntu Sep 18, 2013 at 13:02
  • yeah, i was silly enough to let it run until the point where i figured something smells fishy... hahahahaa
    – alvas
    Sep 18, 2013 at 13:04

sudo apt-get purge python && sudo apt-get install python2.7
sudo apt-get install python-pip
removes and reinstalls python and pip, then you can install apps like flask, bottle and many others
eg sudo pip install flask
try to install your apps with python


During un-installation of Python, I abruptly closed the terminal. Hence Python was partially removed. I fixed it with the following commands

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install –-reinstall python-apt
sudo apt-get install –-reinstall python2.7

you can recover using live CD using chroot

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