Debian / Ubuntu: apt-get force reinstall package

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I am a new Debian Linux / Ubuntu Linux LTS user. How do I reinstall a package using apt-get command line? Is there an ‘apt-get force reinstall package’ command?

The Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) works on both Debian / Ubuntu Linux. It can handle the installation and removal of software including reinstalling packages to fix problems. You need use apt-get command as follows to forcefully reinstall package. This page shows to reinstall packages on an Ubuntu and Debian server or cloud based virtual machine.


apt-get force reinstall package

The syntax is:
apt-get --reinstall install PackageNameHere
apt-get --reinstall install Package1 Package2

The --reinstall option re-install packages that are already installed and at the newest version.

Pro tip: Backup all configuration files before reinstalling packages. For example, if you are reinstalling nginx web server package, backup /etc/nginx/ directory with the help of cp command as follows:
mkdir /root/nginx.mmddyyyy/ && cp -avr /etc/nginx/* /root/nginx.mmddyyy/

How to reinstall a package using apt-get

Let us see some example that shows how to reinstall package and its installed dependencies on a Debian or Ubuntu Linux. The following command will reinstall rsync package. Open a terminal application and then type:
$ sudo apt-get --reinstall install rsync
# apt-get --reinstall install rsync
Sample outputs:

Debian / Ubuntu Linux  reinstall a package using apt-get command
Fig.01: Debian / Ubuntu Linux reinstall a package using apt-get command

If above method failed for you, try the following syntax. Make sure you backup config file before typing the following commands. Please note that the --purge option is identical to remove except that packages are removed and purged including any configuration files are deleted too.

sudo apt-get --purge remove package1
sudo apt-get install package1

Debian or Ubuntu reinstall package command

Type the following apt command or apt-get command to reinstall htop:
sudo apt --reinstall install htop
sudo apt-get --reinstall install htop
apt-get force reinstall package command for Debian and Ubuntu
The apt-get is the command-line tool for handling packages. The apt command provides a high-level command-line interface for the package management system. It is intended as an end user interface. Both, apt command and apt-get accepts the --reinstall option for reinstalling packages to fix problems.

apt-get reinstall package and dependencies

One can use aptitude command too. The syntax is:
sudo aptitude reinstall pkg
sudo aptitude reinstall nginx

What if I want to reinstall ALL packages …

You need to use the aptitude command as follows:
sudo aptitude reinstall '~i'


You learned how to use the apt-get to force reinstall package on a Debian and Ubuntu Linux. For more information please apt-get man pager here:

  • See man pages for more info – cp(1)


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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