Ubuntu Linux: How Do I install .deb Packages?

Posted on in Categories , , last updated August 11, 2013

I am a new Ubuntu Linux user. I need to install a package called package.deb. I know I can use Synaptic front-end package management tool to install packages from the CD or Internet. But, I would like to install a special .deb file. How can I install .deb package from the terminal using command line option in Ubuntu Linux or Debian Linux?

You need to use the dpkg command, which is a package manager from shell/command prompt for Debian and Ubuntu Linux. You can use this tool to install, build, remove and manage packages. dpkg itself is controlled entirely via command line parameters.


The syntax is as follows:

dpkg -i package-name-here.deb
dpkg --install package-name-here.deb
dpkg -i -R /path/to/dir/name/with/lots/of/dot-deb-files/
dpkg -i --recursive /path/to/dir/name/with/lots/of/dot-deb-files/


  1. -i or --install : Install the package.
  2. -R or --recursive : Recursively installed all *.deb files found at specified directories and all of its sub-directories. /path/to/dir/name/with/lots/of/dot-deb-files/ must refer to a directory instead of package-name-here.deb file name.

How do I install .deb file?

To install a single package file called /tmp/package.deb type the following commands. Open a terminal and then cd to directory where package.deb is kept. In this example, package.deb is kept in /tmp directory:
$ cd /tmp
Type the following command to install the package:
$ sudo dpkg -i package.deb
# dpkg -i package.deb

Install all packages from /nfs/pkgs/ubuntu-builds directory

Recursively handle and install all regular files matching pattern *.deb found at /nfs/pkgs/ubuntu-builds/ directory and all of its subdirectories, type:
$ sudo dpkg -i -R /nfs/pkgs/ubuntu-builds/
# dpkg -i -R /nfs/pkgs/ubuntu-builds/

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Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

71 comment

  1. Hi there.
    Thanks for the tips ’bout .deb install.

    Next (a bit out of focus, but nevertheless):
    I am totally new to Ubuntu. Installed it because of a disk failure on my laptop. When wanting to install windows for boot on my spare USB-drive, Windows (bulls*%& MS) couldn’t do it (blue screen). Frustrated I booted the Ubuntu 8.0.4 CD-ROM I had downloaded a while ago. Ubuntu found the disk like nothing! Halleluya!!!
    So now I am able to still use my good old laptop! And it is MUCH more faster than under Windows.
    Finding a new HD to a 5 years old Dell Inspiron isn’t easy. I might as well retired my current Inspiron 500m as a kinda homebrewed webserver and buy one of those snaksy new minis, like EEEPC or Dell Inspiron Mini 9, but INCLUDED with Ubuntu of course. Good bye Windows.

    BTW:I have never before found such a happy bunch of contributors/helpers/goodminded persons as I have in the Linux-world! A general thanks to all’ye for yer help during the transition.

    BTW2: My first “PC” was a Metric ABC80 w/16Kb RAM (bought in 1978). OMG the world has changed since then :-)

    From now on: straight into Ubuntu-heaven!
    Cheers mates!

    Kindly sunshine from

    Mr. Eivind Trana
    Old IT-guy (30 years experience) from Norway living retired cool days in Lapu-Lapu, The Philippines.

  2. wooo… thx a lot. i’ve been wondering how do i install DEB packages. i want to install this WINE packages but all i see is to connect to the internet first. But i can’t go online because i dont know how to install my wireless card. so, i juz download this DEB manually and install it.

    thank you very much.

  3. Sometimes installing the deb file through the GUI won’t work. If you have a i386 package and you’re running amd64 you need to use dpkg like so:

    “dpkg -i –force-architecture /path/to/file.deb”

  4. ya instale el vmware, pero donde quedo la instalacion?

    esto me aparece:

    [email protected]:/home/matias/programas# dpkg -i vmware-player_2.5.3-185405_i386.deb
    (Leyendo la base de datos …
    170294 ficheros y directorios instalados actualmente.)
    Preparando para reemplazar vmware-player 2.5.3-185405 (usando vmware-player_2.5.3-185405_i386.deb) …
    Desempaquetando el reemplazo de vmware-player …
    Configurando vmware-player (2.5.3-185405) …
    [email protected]:/home/matias/programas#

    pero no logro encontrar la instalacion por ningun lado :(

  5. mine keeps showing this and i dont know what to do

    You must agree to the above LICENSE to install this software. Do you agree? (yes/[no]) yes
    Unpacking replacement sn9cxxx …
    WARNING: -e needs -E or -Fdpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of sn9cxxx:
    sn9cxxx depends on linux-image-generic (=; however:
    Version of linux-image-generic on system is
    dpkg: error processing sn9cxxx (–install):
    dependency problems – leaving unconfigured
    Errors were encountered while processing:

  6. Please Help I’m new to Ubuntu and trying follow the instructions and this is what I keep getting:

    [email protected]:~$ cd /tmp
    [email protected]:/tmp$ sudo dpkg -i package.deb
    tar: ./postinst: time stamp 2009-12-10 22:16:45 is 72110.366117579 s in the future
    tar: ./postinst~: time stamp 2009-12-10 22:14:11 is 71956.365517782 s in the future
    tar: ./control~: time stamp 2009-12-10 22:14:59 is 72004.365354354 s in the future
    tar: ./control: time stamp 2009-12-10 22:15:03 is 72008.365204055 s in the future
    tar: .: time stamp 2009-12-10 22:16:45 is 72110.364497541 s in the future
    (Reading database … 114110 files and directories currently installed.)
    Preparing to replace astronaut-wv-server-beta 0.9-2 (using package.deb) …
    Unpacking replacement astronaut-wv-server-beta …
    dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of astronaut-wv-server-beta:
    astronaut-wv-server-beta depends on openssh-server; however:
    Package openssh-server is not installed.
    astronaut-wv-server-beta depends on xinetd; however:
    Package xinetd is not installed.
    astronaut-wv-server-beta depends on apache2; however:
    Package apache2 is not installed.
    astronaut-wv-server-beta depends on apache2-suexec; however:
    Package apache2-suexec is not installed.
    dpkg: error processing astronaut-wv-server-beta (–install):
    dependency problems – leaving unconfigured
    Errors were encountered while processing:

    Please Help!

  7. I don’t understand why everyone is saying type this type that………..deb files only require you to double click and it will do it all by itself………oommmmmmmmmmmmm. no stress :-D

    1. Hi Michael,

      not everybody can click to install a package
      what about if the gui does not start, then you have to install the package e.g chromepackage from the command line. so how do you click if your gui/desktop does not even work ?

      I have this problem now

  8. dpkg -i wvdial_1.60.1_amd64.deb execution results on ubuntu 9.10
    dpkg: error processing wvdial (–install):
    dependency problems – leaving unconfigured
    Processing triggers for man-db …
    Error were encountered while processing

  9. thanks – installing ubuntu server and needed to install webmin from a .deb file!

    Oh, and for all of you wondering why we don’t “double click” on the file.
    Download and install ubuntu SERVER – – – – – then try to double click! It ain’t got no GUI. So learn the command line or you will be lost!

  10. i try for installing wvdial in ubuntu 9.10.
    i describe process as
    1> i download all 5 packages.
    2> dpkg –force-architecture -i pkg_name.deb
    3> sudo apt-get install wvdial
    i give some errors for /etc/apt/sources.lst for some hyperlinks.
    what should ido?
    i am very desperate to dial up pc with mobile.
    plz help me

  11. Hi. I am surprised that this install did not work successfully on my system (Linux Mint, though it says that it is Ubuntu 10.10 in the About Ubuntu section…).

    Here is what was written in Terminal after the attempted installation:

    [email protected]:~$ cd /home/tracey/mysql-workbench-gpl-5.2.33b-1ubu1010-i386.deb
    bash: cd: /home/tracey/mysql-workbench-gpl-5.2.33b-1ubu1010-i386.deb: Not a directory
    [email protected]:~$ cd /home/tracey
    [email protected]:~$ sudo dpkg -i mysql-workbench-gpl-5.2.33b-1ubu1010-i386.deb
    [sudo] password for tracey:
    Sorry, try again.
    [sudo] password for tracey:
    Selecting previously deselected package mysql-workbench-gpl.
    (Reading database … 192967 files and directories currently installed.)
    Unpacking mysql-workbench-gpl (from mysql-workbench-gpl-5.2.33b-1ubu1010-i386.deb) …
    dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of mysql-workbench-gpl:
    mysql-workbench-gpl depends on libzip1 (>= 0.8); however:
    Package libzip1 is not installed.
    mysql-workbench-gpl depends on mysql-client; however:
    Package mysql-client is not installed.
    mysql-workbench-gpl depends on python-pysqlite2; however:
    Package python-pysqlite2 is not installed.
    dpkg: error processing mysql-workbench-gpl (–install):
    dependency problems – leaving unconfigured
    Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils …
    Processing triggers for python-gmenu …
    Rebuilding /usr/share/applications/desktop.en_US.utf8.cache…
    Processing triggers for python-support …
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    [email protected]:~$

    Any help and insight as to why there are errors would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

    – Guy.

  12. hi, I am new to ubuntu
    I did what this instructions said but it didn’t work, actually nothing happened, even if I double click on it it opens the programs of ubuntu, i don’t know what to do can you tell me what is wrong or what i should do

  13. i installed ubuntu 8.04.4 and was unable to connect to the wireless modem so i started manually updating packages, as i needed to run emacs, so i updated packages like, emacs22_22.2-0ubuntu9_i386,
    these many packages were updated manually by the command , sudo dpkg -i ./filename.
    on every package it showed on the terminal ” setting” and three package dependencies are broken that are , python2.6, emacs22, libreadline6.
    plz help, i am new to ubuntu

  14. People who receive errors, especially unresolved dependencies, may use the APT Package Manager.

    If you have Ubuntu Desktop installed, you can use the Synaptic userinterface (for apt) for managing your packages. Syaptic will know all packages on the CD and may have configured additional web sources during installation. If not you can add new online sources anytime in the GUI. Synaptic will, as it uses APT, resolve all dependencies (or at least will try) during package installation.

    if you want or have to use CLI and #sudo dpgk [] does not wortk, use the apt-get command (apt package manager) instead, which resolves all dependencies.

    Install with APT on CLI:
    A) to install known packages from known sources ;)
    #sudo apt-get install [package]

    If you want to install LOCAL deb packages with apt, do the following

    B) define new sources and import packages
    B.1) the location of the package must be included in the etc/apt/sources.list. you may change this file with an editor of your choice. If you want to add a directory, do the following:

    B.1.1) put all debs in one directory, in this example /root/debs/
    B.1.2) to create Packages.gz, in root type:
    # dpkg-scanpackages debs /dev/null | gzip > debs/Packages.gz
    B.1.3) edit sources.list adding this line:
    deb file:/root debs/
    B.2) you MUST use the following command after changing the sources.list, to import all new package lists from the sources:
    #sudo apt-get update
    B.3) now you can use A)

    however, having internet connection available ist the easyest way to go.

    to get the name of you package, try
    #apt-cache search [expression]
    that will list you all packages where [expression] was found ;)

    for more Information on APT search google, or ask your WIKI.

  15. cannot access archive : permission denied

    linux is a big joke.
    ten years of trying, still cannot install a program in linux

    click on .deb file and the stuppid OS asks me what program i would like to use.
    utter lunacy!

  16. under ubuntu or linux mint just open terminal and type

    sudo apt-get install gdebi

    after installation just rigth click on .deb pachage -> open with gdebi,fallow the instruction ….that all !

  17. Can Any one help me in patch creation for ubuntu

    I need to create patch for ubuntu (java application). which update only some file or add new file if any in package

    I am using this command.

    dpkg –instdir=/opt -i –force-overwrite package_file_name.deb

    it’s replacing all file , deleting other file which are not in this package.

    Please Help

    Thanks to all

  18. Help.

    I am new to Linux and just installed Ubuntu but I am totally confused, please direct me to a users manual or something to help.

    I downloaded the Exodus viewer file “exodusviewer_12.11.24.1_all.deb” and as directed here did: $ sudo dpkg -i exodusviewer_12.11.24.1_all.deb in my home/Download directory.

    The terminal prints that it is installed in /usr/local/share/applications but I can’t get there from the command line after I use sudo -i to be at root access. No directories show up when I use ls -l.

    When I use the Nautilus file browser to go there I find the file called “exodus” but double clicking it does nothing.

    This is all so confusing and frustrating when they do not list any installation directions and I can not find a user manual type document anywhere.

    When you ask some people they arrogantly reply with “RTFM”. Well where is the manual?

    What do I do? Thanks.

  19. Hi there

    I installed my ubuntu custom kernel with deb files using dpkg as mentioned above. I the same Machine where it builed. When i take the deb file to other machine with same configuration. Installetion was successfull, I am not able to compile any modules in the installed kernel.

    Error persist even after installation of the headers

  20. When I typed in the command, it came up saying
    “dpkg: error processing *****.deb (–install):
    cannot access archive: No such file or directory
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    What should I do?

  21. I’m not sure if this method ( [dpkg -i … ] ) will going wrong.
    I saw someone use :
    [dpkg -i ]
    [apt-get install -f] << (key)
    because sometimes dependency go wrong with only the first command, then you have to use the second command to solve the dependency problem afterwards.

    My way is put the .deb file into [/var/cache/apt/archives] , and run [aptitude install ].
    aptitude will check the local package in [/var/cache/apt/archives] , then install it.
    I not found the way to use aptitude to install .deb file directly yet.

    But I’m not sure whether these method is flawed, maybe someone can tell me.

  22. [email protected]:~$ dpkg -i package-name-here.deb
    dpkg: error: requested operation requires superuser privilege
    [email protected]:~$ dpkg –install package-name-here.deb
    dpkg: error: requested operation requires superuser privilege
    [email protected]:~$ dpkg -i -R /path/to/dir/name/with/lots/of/dot-deb-files/
    dpkg: error: requested operation requires superuser privilege
    [email protected]:~$ dpkg -i –recursive /path/to/dir/name/with/lots/of/dot-deb-files/
    dpkg: error: requested operation requires superuser privilege
    [email protected]:~$
    [email protected]:~$

    how can I resolve this , thanks

  23. Same as Sam….“dpkg: error processing *****.deb (–install):
    cannot access archive: No such file or directory
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    it seems that no one knows why…………

  24. Neither the Terminal or any other form of “command line intervention” is required to install a .deb package in Ubuntu. A simple “double click” of the mouse is all that’s required to install a .deb package. The manner in which many “command line centric Linux enthusiasts” instruct main stream Ubuntu end-users to employ the terminal when far simpler “point and click, cut and paste or drag and drop” options are available to them, is both patently absurd and EXTREMELY misleading. The installation procedure is virtually identical to that of installing an application that’s been downloaded to Windows.

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