I decided to update to Oneiric using the update manager. At some point, I got this message:

The upgrade has aborted. Your system could be in an unusable state. A recovery will run now (dpkg --configure -a).

Then, later on:

The upgrade has completed but there were errors during the upgrade process.

What can I do?

EDIT: Update manager offers to perform a 'Partial Upgrade'. "865 updates have been selected. The updates have already been downloaded, but not installed". It still gives the option to upgrade to 11.10

5 Answers 5


Ok, this is how I solved the problem eventually: burn a live cd/USB, boot from it, go to 'install', and choose the Upgrade option.


I had the same thing happen to me, after it had had problems with updating the samba package. Never fear, it has updated to 11.10. Restart and all should be well. I then found that the Update Manager which listed samba in the "distribution updates" section wouldn't update it, but I then tried it in Synaptic (which you will have installed because you're upgrading—Synaptic doesn't come installed on fresh installations of 11.10) and it upgraded fine.

So, don't worry. The error message is merely poorly done, I think.

  • thanks, but my problem must be different. I restarted, and I am still in Natty. Update manager still offers to upgrade to Oneiric. It also offers to do a 'partial upgrade'.
    – geoffrey
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 8:17
  • 1
    Just do it! ;) And dpkg --configure -a
    – Extender
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 8:35
  • @Extender: put that as an answer Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 11:46
  • I tried, I get this: Could not calculate the upgrade An unresolvable problem occurred while calculating the upgrade: E:Error, pkgProblemResolver::Resolve generated breaks, this may be caused by held packages. This can be caused by: * Upgrading to a pre-release version of Ubuntu * Running the current pre-release version of Ubuntu * Unofficial software packages not provided by Ubuntu This is most likely a transient problem, please try again later.
    – geoffrey
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 13:10
  • I think I'll try waiting a couple of days ... luckily my system is not broken (as far as I can tell)
    – geoffrey
    Commented Oct 14, 2011 at 13:11

I had the same issue on my computer. To fix this I went to /var/log/dist-upgrade/20111015-2104 where the 20111015-2104 will be the date + "-" + time that you tried to do the update, then look in the apt.log and see which package is failing.

In the log I had a bunch of errors such as:

Broken kdelibs5-plugins:i386 Breaks on kdevelop [ i386 ] < 4:4.0.2-0ubuntu2 -> 4:4.2.3-0ubuntu1 > ( devel ) (< 4:4.2) Considering kdevelop:i386 0 as a solution to kdelibs5-plugins:i386 193 Upgrading kdevelop:i386 due to Breaks field in kdelibs5-plugins:i386

to which I went ahead and started by removing the kdevelop package using synaptic package manager.

Hope this helps

  • Thanks, looks like an interesting solution BUT I get a very long list of broken packages (over 40), and I would need to remove packages like ubuntu-desktop. I don't think it's a good idea to try to remove that ...
    – geoffrey
    Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 12:58

I clicked on the Ubuntu Software Center and it automatically repaired about four files then try to upgrade it again and it worked.


Your best option is to do a clean reinstall.


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