Debian Ubuntu

Meaning of Error: Could Not Get Lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend

When using any operating system, you may come across annoying errors at times. Sometimes you readily recognize those errors and you know exactly how you can fix them because you have seen them before. Other times, there are certain errors that you come across for the very first time and you do not have any clue about how to fix them. Such errors not only take a long time to fix but they also add more to your frustration.

Oftentimes, these errors are quite simple to solve. If you just try to learn a little about their point of occurrence, you can easily get these errors resolved. This article will talk about a very commonly occurring error that most of the Linux users might have faced while using this operating system. We will try to gain in-depth knowledge about the “Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend” error.

What Is the “Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend” Error?

Whenever you encounter this error while using any flavor of the Linux operating system, it implies one of the following three things:

  • A graphical application is currently running which is using the dpkg package.
  • An apt command is running on your terminal.
  • An apt process is running in the background.

How Do You Resolve this Error?

Three easy methods of resolving this error are discussed below.

Method # 1

The first method is the simplest, easiest, and quickest. All you have to do is to wait for the above-mentioned processes to complete. After some time, try to run the command that has triggered this error earlier. If the issue gets resolved, then well and good. If it does not, then you will have to proceed with Method # 2.

Method # 2

The second method gets a bit more complicated.

In this method, you will have to perform the following steps:

  • Launch the terminal in Ubuntu 20.04 by pressing Ctrl+ T or by clicking on the Activities icon located at your desktop and typing “terminal” in the search bar that appears, double clicking on the search results to launch the terminal.
  • You can also right-click on your desktop and then select the “Open Terminal” option from the menu that pops up.
  • The newly launched terminal window is shown in the image below:
  • Type the following command in your terminal and then press the Enter key:
    sudo killall apt apt-get

    This command is shown in the following image:

After running this command, try to run the command that has triggered this error again. If it does not give rise to that error once again, then you have possibly resolved that issue. Otherwise, you will have to try out Method # 3.

Method # 3

This method is tricky, but straightforward.

To fix the error discussed above with this method, perform the following steps:

  • Launch the terminal in Ubuntu 20.04 by pressing Ctrl+ T or by clicking on the Activities icon located at your desktop and typing “terminal” in the search bar that appears, double clicking on the search results to launch the terminal.
  • You can also right-click on your desktop and then select the “Open Terminal” option from the menu that pops up.
  • The newly launched terminal window is shown in the image below:
  • Type the following command in your terminal and then press the Enter key:
    sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/lock /var/cache/apt/archives/lock/var/lib/dpkg/lock*

    Here, /var/lib/apt/lists/lock, /var/cache/apt/archives/lock, and /var/lib/dpkg/lock* are the three lock files responsible for this error and this command tends to remove these three files.You can either remove these three files together, as it is done by this command, or you can remove these three files one by one by typing in three separate commands.This command is shown in the following image:

    After running this command, your issue will be resolved and you will be able to successfully proceed with the commands that you were trying to run earlier.

Conclusion

This article covered the causes behind the “Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend” error and provided three different methods of getting rid of this error in Linux. All you have to do is try out these methods one by one, so that if at any stage, the issue gets fixed, you will not have to waste your time trying out the next method.

About the author

Karim Buzdar

Karim Buzdar

Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn.