I've seen some folks have errors relating to files in /var/lib/dpkg/updates. All I can find about the directory is that the files in it are numbered 0000, 0001 etc. and that the error messages often mention "trouble parsing one of the files".

/var/lib/dpkg/updates folder is empty on my system, so I can't see what's in the files. I've not been able to find information about what is stored in this directory, only many forum posts and bug reports mentioning the directory.

So, what is this directory for?

  • Just my luck... the directory is empty on my system too :( Jul 30, 2010 at 22:33
  • It seems something is kept there temporarily during upgrades. But I'm not brave enough to stop an upgrade midway to find out what's there. ;-) Jul 30, 2010 at 23:03

1 Answer 1


During the update dpkg stores status of the installation/update there. This is how an incomplete installation process can be detected and decided what are the next packages going to be installed, So that the system can ask to use dpkg-configure -a if anything happens before completing installation or update.

Normally after a successful installation, the directory should be empty.

  • 1
    So it's sort of a log that dpkg can use to pick up where it left off. Very smart, but I feel sorry for the guy who had to code it. ;-) Thanks! Jul 31, 2010 at 0:58

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