What is apt-get update not working and How to Fix Ubuntu Update Error
General Linux Topic

Updating Ubuntu is one of the essential tasks that the users of this popular Linux distribution do regularly. As a beginner, you might prefer to use Ubuntu, but the error of Ubuntu failing to update can also concern you. This tutorial covers Fix Ubuntu Update Error solutions and all the Ubuntu update errors. If you are planning to buy Ubuntu VPS, but you do not know how to take action to solve a problem after facing apt-get update not working, follow this complete guide to learn all you need to Fix Ubuntu Update Error. In the end, you will be able to troubleshoot update related errors on Ubuntu 20.04 and 22.04 since soon or late you will face them.

Common errors such as Failed to Download Repository Information in Ubuntu, Hash Sum mismatch, Problem With MergeList, GPG error: The Following Signatures Couldn’t be Verified, Failed to Fetch with Error 404 Not Found, BADSIG error, Failed to Download Package Files Error in Ubuntu, Partial Upgrade Error, or Could not get lock /var/cache/apt/archives/lock will not stop you updating your Ubuntu anymore.

Reasons Ubuntu Unable to Install Updates

An Ubuntu update issue could happen for a number of reasons. Network connectivity issues or conflicts between packages can lead the Ubuntu update process to fail. A smart action after facing any of the probable errors is to check the current error message or the main lines of output to be able to analyze them and get the exact cause of that specific error.

However, let’s see what are the common causes of apt-get update not working in Ubuntu.

  • Held Packages: When a package is held back during an update, this error occurs. It is possible to remedy the issue by using commands such as sudo apt clean, sudo apt autoclean, and sudo apt autoremove.
  • Package hash mismatch: When there is a problem with the cached packages, this error can occur. You can try uninstalling the cached packages with sudo rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/* followed by an update.
  • Proxy Settings: The system may be unable to access the repositories due to incorrect proxy settings or a misconfigured proxy server.
  • Outdated Repository Links: Over time, repository URLs may become obsolete, causing the system to fail to retrieve the required information.
  • Interrupted Fetch: If the latest repositories were not entirely acquired during an interrupted apt-get update, you can try deleting the content in /var/lib/apt/lists and retrying the update.

This guide will assist you in overcoming all potential barriers and maintaining an up-to-date software environment on your Ubuntu machine. Understanding the various causes and implementing relevant changes will ensure that your Ubuntu updates run smoothly and your system remains secure and functional.

Quick Solutions to Fix Ubuntu Update Error

Regardless you decide to use Terminal or GUI methods to Update Ubuntu, viewing Ubuntu unable to download updates error and other similar errors is inevitable. To Fix Ubuntu Update Error, join us with this guide to learn what to do when Ubuntu is unable to install updates. You will first get familiar with the main reason for occurring each error, and then, the best technique to fix it will be explained.

Error 1. Failed to Download Repository Information in Ubuntu

As we mentioned, you can Update Ubuntu in two ways Terminal and GUI. As one Ubuntu desktop user, if you are used to updating your Ubuntu system through the graphical software updater tool, you might face an error like this:

Failed to Download Repository Information

Unlike Ubuntu boot problem which has no warning, you will be notified about updates. Receiving the ”Updates are available” message means that you can start downloading and installing updates. But what is the above error when you are positive your internet connection has no issues? This is a misleading error since usually appears even when the internet connection is stable.

Outdated repository links, Third-party repositories, Incorrect repository settings, Corrupted sources.list file, Firewall restrictions, Temporary server issues, and Expired GPG keys are the most frequent reasons for the ”Failed to Download Repository Information in Ubuntu” error.

Let’s see what is the best solution to solve the ”Failed to Download Repository Information in Ubuntu” error. First, verify your internet connection. When you are sure this error is not related to the internet connection, follow the below steps to fix Ubuntu Update Error:

Open your Ubuntu terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T and then run the command below:

sudo apt update

Look at the below output. The last lines will tell you about the reason for the ”Failed to Download Repository Information” error.

Output of Update Ubuntu Error

Error 2. Hash Sum mismatch

When apt doesn’t check the accuracy of the information downloaded from the repository, it frequently encounters the issue of a hash sum mismatch error. The Hash Sum mismatch error is a signature-related Ubuntu update issue and appears as below:

W:Failed to fetch bzip2:/var/lib/apt/lists/partial/in.archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_oneiric_restricted_binary-i386_Packages Hash Sum mismatch,
W:Failed to fetch bzip2:/var/lib/apt/lists/partial/in.archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_oneiric_multiverse_binary-i386_Packages Hash Sum mismatch,
E:Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead

Fixing Hash Sum mismatch error is easy. Refer to the below solution to learn How to solve another Ubuntu apt update error. The problem could be caused by a mismatch in the metadata cache between the server and your machine. To resolve the issue, execute the following commands:

sudo rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*
sudo apt update

Ubuntu Update Error must be resolved now.

Error 3. Problem With MergeList

The ‘’Problem with MergeList’’ error can also appear while you are trying to update your Ubuntu. It usually occurs if the package lists or status file cannot be parsed or opened. So, you must fix this Ubuntu unable to update issue.

E:Encountered a section with no Package: header,
E:Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_precise_universe_binary-i386_Packages,
E:The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.’

The reason of occurring this error is that the file in the/var/lib/apt/lists directory got corrupted. Do not worry! there is a quick solution to fix Problem With MergeList error. Simply run the following commands one by one to delete all the files in this directory. When you are finished, run the update again.

sudo rm -r /var/lib/apt/lists/*
sudo apt-get clean && sudo apt-get update

Error 4. GPG error: The Following Signatures Couldn’t be Verified

One of the times that the system can’t update Ubuntu is when you want to add a PPA. It causes the GPG error: The following signatures couldn’t be verified error after running an update in the terminal. The GPG issue should be interpreted as a caution against installing packages from unidentified sources. It results from the system’s incapability to recognize a certain GPG public key.

W: GPG error: http://repo.mate-desktop.org saucy InRelease: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 68980A0EA10B4DE8

To Fix Ubuntu Update Error, use the below technique and solve GPG error: The Following Signatures Couldn’t be Verified error. All you have to do now is locate this public key in the system. Obtain the message’s key number. The key in the preceding message is 68980A0EA10B4DE8.

So, use the key as follows:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 68980A0EA10B4DE8

Once the key has been added, restart the update. Ubuntu apt update should be great.

Error 5. Failed to Fetch with Error 404 Not Found

When you try to add a PPA repository that isn’t accessible for your current Ubuntu version, you’ll get a 404 not found message. It also appears when the repository information is outdated or the link is broken.

W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/venerix/pkg/ubuntu/dists/raring/main/binary-i386/Packages  404  Not Found
E: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

To fix Failed to Fetch with Error 404 Not Found error, you just need to delete the problematic PPA from your list of repositories. Take note of the PPA name from the error message. Go to the Software & Updates tool:

Ubuntu Software & Updates tool

Navigate to the Other Software tab and seek for that PPA. To remove the PPA from your system, uncheck the box.

Remove PPA Using Software & Updates In Ubuntu

When you do that, your software list will be updated. If you re-run the update, you should no longer see the issue. You can examine your network settings and remove any entries that point to a repository that apt doesn’t like if the issue still continues.

Error 6. BADSIG error

BADSIG error is another signature-related Ubuntu update error that looks like this:

W: A error occurred during the signature verification. The repository is not updated and the previous index files will be used. GPG error: http://extras.ubuntu.com precise Release: The following signatures were invalid: BADSIG 16126D3A3E5C1192 Ubuntu Extras Archive Automatic Signing Key
W: GPG error: http://ppa.launchpad.net precise Release:
The following signatures were invalid: BADSIG 4C1CBC1B69B0E2F4 Launchpad PPA for XXXX XXXXXX
W: Failed to fetch http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/precise/Release

Solving the BADSIG error is as simple as other Ubuntu Update Errors you reviewed. All the repositories are signed with GPG, and for some reason, your system considers them illegitimate. The signature keys will need to be updated. The simplest approach to do this is to regenerate the apt packages list (with their signature keys), and it should have the proper key.

To solve the BADSIG error, run the commands below one by one:

cd /var/lib/apt 
sudo mv lists oldlist 
sudo mkdir -p lists/partial 
sudo apt-get clean 
sudo apt-get update

Error 7. Failed to Download Package Files Error in Ubuntu

While running an update in the terminal, you might face the below error. Obviously, this error occurs when your Ubuntu system is not able to find the package that you consider to install. The server may not have received an update from the main server yet, the package may have been deleted or replaced with a newer version, or both may have occurred. The package lists can be reset, the apt-get and GPG cache and keys cleaned, following the Package Manager Troubleshooting Procedure, or troublesome repositories can be disabled as some of the solutions to this error.

Let’s see how to Fix Ubuntu Update Error in this case:

Failed to Download Package Files Error

Displaying the Failed word during a process might be frustrating. Here is the quickest solution for the error of Failed to Download Package Files Error in Ubuntu. A newer version of the software is available in this scenario, but it has not been distributed to all mirrors. If you do not have a mirror, simply change the software sources to the Main server.

Navigate to Software & Updates and change the download server to the Main server:

Change the download server to Main server

Error 8. Partial Upgrade Error

While running an update in your Ubuntu terminal, you might face the partial upgrade error. When an unsuitable application is installed on your computer, an error occurs that prevents the upgrading process from being finished. Prior to upgrading your PC, make sure all incompatible apps have been completely removed.

Partial upgrade error

Not all updates can be installed
Run a partial upgrade, to install as many updates as possible

Let’s see the best solution for this error. To Fix Ubuntu Update Error in this case, run the following command:

sudo apt-get install -f

Error 9. Could not get lock /var/cache/apt/archives/lock

This issue happens when another process—such as Synaptic, Ubuntu Software Center, or another terminal—is using the apt system. The apt system is locked and cannot be accessed by several processes at once as a result.

E: Could not get lock /var/cache/apt/archives/lock – open (11: Resource temporarily unavailable)
E: Unable to lock directory /var/cache/apt/archives/

If this error is the exact Ubuntu Update Error that prevents you from refreshing your Ubuntu, try the below solution to eliminate it. Check to see whether another program is utilizing apt. It could be a command-line terminal, Software Center, Software Updater, Software & Updates, or any other software that deals with application installation and removal. Close any other similar programs you can. Wait for a process to complete if one is in progress.

If you are unable to locate any such programs, use the following command to terminate all such ongoing processes and Fix Ubuntu Update Error.

sudo killall apt apt-get

Troubleshoot Not all Updates Can be Installed in Ubuntu

So far, you learned 9 solutions to Fix Ubuntu Update Error. After reviewing all the above solutions, if you’re still having difficulties installing all the updates in Ubuntu and you face Failed To Download Repository Information error, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Open your Ubuntu terminal and run the command below to Update the package list:
sudo apt update

This will refresh the package lists and provide you with the most up-to-date information on available updates.

  • Then, to Upgrade installed packages, type:
sudo apt upgrade

This will update all installed packages to the most recent versions. This command may assist in resolving any issues that were hindering the installation of specific updates.

  • While broken or unmet dependencies can prevent updates from being installed, use the following command to check for broken dependencies:
sudo apt --fix-broken install

This command attempts to repair broken dependencies and allow pending updates to be installed.

  • You may need to uninstall certain packages if they are generating conflicts or preventing updates. Examine error messages or logs to identify troublesome packages, then uninstall them by running the command below:
sudo apt remove <package_name>
  • As you know, Cached packages can disturb the update process. Run the following command to clear the package cache:
sudo apt clean
  • If you’re running an earlier version of Ubuntu, upgrading to the most recent stable release may help you overcome update problems. To upgrade the distribution, run the following command:
arduino sudo do-release-upgrade
  • It’s conceivable that the update source you’re utilizing has synchronization issues. Change your software sources to use a different mirror by accessing “Software & Updates” from the system settings and selecting a different server from the “Download from” option.

Congratulations! You do not need to be concerned about security anymore. Your Ubuntu system’s packages are updated since you are equipped with all the solutions you learned in this tutorial to fix all the probable errors when Ubuntu can’t update.


In this article, you learned How to Fix Ubuntu Update Error. When you Update Ubuntu, it retains all of your data and settings while installing a newer version. Reinstalling Ubuntu will cure any difficulties you are experiencing while retaining all of your configuration and information. If none of the fixes work, you can install the update manually. To accomplish this, you must manually download and install the update from the Ubuntu website. We tried to cover the helpful list of frequently occurring Ubuntu update errors. If you have faced an error that we have not mentioned in this tutorial, let us know to discuss its solution.

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