Whenever I try to run any apt-get command, it gives me this error message:

dpkg: error: corrupt info database format file '/var/lib/dpkg/info/format'

E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)

Please advice how to rectify this.


1 Answer 1


Delete that "format" file, or if you're paranoid, back it up (move it to the RAM disk):

sudo mv /var/lib/dpkg/info/format /dev/shm

Mine only contains the number 1 and a carriage return (\n), resulting in a two byte file. You can create this from the command line:

sudo printf "1\n" > /var/lib/dpkg/info/format

If it fails, then simply restore your backed up "format" file over the top of the new one you created.

sudo mv /dev/shm/format /var/lib/dpkg/info/
  • Are there any risks with doing this? Could you edit to include them, and a rm command so that we are less likely to delete the wrong file?
    – Tim
    Aug 6, 2014 at 15:13
  • If you're paranoid, then do this: sudo mv /var/lib/dpkg/info/format /dev/shm which will move the "format" file into the RAM disk, then create a new file using your favourite text editor (type in 1 then enter, then save your file). If it fails, then simply mv /dev/shm/format /var/lib/dpkg/info/ which will restore your backed up "format" file over the top of the new one you created. Aug 6, 2014 at 15:25
  • Nope, I am not able to edit this file. >mewtomat@MewtoMat:~$ sudo mv /var/lib/dpkg/info/format /dev/shm >[sudo] password for mewtomat: >mewtomat@MewtoMat:~$ sudo printf "1\n" > /var/lib/dpkg/info/format >bash: /var/lib/dpkg/info/format: Permission denied >mewtomat@MewtoMat:~$ sudo mv /dev/shm/format /var/lib/dpkg/info/ >mewtomat@MewtoMat:~$
    – user312936
    Aug 7, 2014 at 7:52
  • Do "sudo nano /var/lib/dpkg/info/format" and then when the editor appears, type in "1" then Enter, then press CTRL+X, then "Y" and then Enter to save your changes. Aug 8, 2014 at 12:09

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