I've got a package installed that is broken (the package itself, not its dependencies). Reinstalling it with sudo dpkg-reconfigure <package> or sudo apt-get --reinstall install <package> did not do the trick. I'd like to try and reinstall the package, including all its currently installed dependencies. Is there a way to do this?

1 Answer 1


You can check all package dependencies with apt-cache:

apt-cache depends <package>

Using the results of that command, we get the following one, which re-installs <package> and its dependencies:

apt-cache depends <package> | grep '[ |]Depends: [^<]' | cut -d: -f2 | tr -d ' ' | xargs sudo apt-get --reinstall install -y
  • 12
    That's it! Thank you. I modified the grep argument from 'Depends' to '[ |]Depends: [^<]' to exclude PreDepends and alternative package (Depends: <package>) entries. The apt-get arguments would need to be --reinstall install to do the actual reinstalling I was after.
    – Forage
    Mar 30, 2013 at 15:05
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    For that you have not tested it, it's pretty brave to post it without further explanation. After all you delete a few packages.
    – A.B.
    Mar 25, 2015 at 9:14
  • 1
    Nice! I suggest removing the -y. It's kind of nice to get a chance to confirm what packages are to be reinstalled. Aug 24, 2020 at 7:52
  • @user1202136 To see what packages are to be reinstalled, execute the command after replacing the part xargs .......... by just cat Nov 1, 2020 at 20:33

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