I am using Ubuntu 16.04. How can I fix the following issue?


Software index is broken

This is a major failure of your software management system.    
Please check for broken packages with synaptic, check the file  
permissions and correctness of the file '/etc/apt/sources.list' and    
reload the software information with: 'sudo apt-get update' and   
'sudo apt-get install -f'.

In addition to this error I'm also still getting the same error in the terminal as I got while trying to install an .rpm package in my previous question: Restoring system for a crashed installation. I also got an error message about an obsolete PPA and another xenial repository that can't be authenticated.

I can't install any packages at all. I can't use apt-get, can't use gebi installer, and I can't even open the Synaptic package manager.

  • 1
    Maybe you can try this askubuntu.com/questions/646176/reading-package-lists-error
    – userDepth
    Sep 5, 2017 at 5:19
  • @userDepth, I don't know what the file, "/etc/......." should had contained, and the second solution didn't work, Can I reinstall the package manager or something? Sep 5, 2017 at 5:33
  • 1
    I remembered that sometimes servers take a little extra time to refresh the list archives and during that time this happens. Try using the main server instead and run an apt-get update.
    – userDepth
    Sep 12, 2017 at 12:54

2 Answers 2


As this error message Software index is broken. This is a major failure of your software management system. suggests, there is a major failure of your software management system comprised of several different errors, and these errors need to be individually repaired one error at a time in order to restore your package management to working condition.

Open the terminal and type:

sudo rm -vf /var/lib/apt/lists/*  
sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:pinta-maintainers/pinta-stable
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -f

Try removing all the files from /var/cache/apt/archives/

try this

sudo rm /var/cache/apt/archives/*

This will remove all the .deb files in archives directory. The above command will also remove the partial directory which is needed by apt, apt-get, etc, to download .deb files before installing them.

Then try these to recreate partial directory in /var/lib/apt/lists/ and in /var/cache/apt/archives/

sudo mkdir /var/lib/apt/lists/partial
sudo mkdir /var/cache/apt/archives/partial
sudo apt-get update

Check this link for solution Software Index is broken

And this for an explanation on package management Why are there deb files in /var/cache/apt/archives/?


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