How to Fix ‘Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend’ in Linux Mint?

Hello, friends. APT is Linux Mint’s package manager, a utility with which we can install programs on the system. However, there are occasions when we may encounter errors when running it. Today, I will show you how to fix ‘Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend’ in Linux Mint.

What is APT?

APT stands for Advanced Package Tool and is a mythical package manager for the Debian family of Linux distributions.

Thanks to APT, we can effectively manage the installation and removal of software on these systems. But not only that, but we can also use it to search for packages or make filters by categories and states in the system.

As expected, APT is included in every installation of Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, and other members of the family as it is an essential component of the system. To enjoy it, we only have to use it from the console or a graphical interface that implements it, such as Synaptic.

Generally, the use of APT is through the console. In it, we have to write the commands that will allow the use of APT. In this way, APT will recognize the command and execute the instructions at the system level. For example, when we indicate that we want to install a package, APT will search for it, find it, and resolve its dependencies before installing it on the system.

Part of these instructions is performed by dpkg which is the command that unpacks DEB packages, allowing the installation and removal of DEB packages. In summary, APT is an interface that facilitates the process of package management on a Debian family system such as Linux Mint.

What does the error Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend mean?

When using APT or an interface to it such as Synaptic or an application shop, a `lock-frontend` file is created which does not allow two instances of APT or DPKG to run simultaneously.

Then when DPKG encounters another instance of it, it cannot create the lock file, causing the error. In short, this error originates when we have an application open that uses DPK, and we are invoking the command.

This is one of the most common bugs in the use of Debian family distributions.

How to Fix ‘Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend’ in Linux Mint?

A basic rule of thumb for learning how to fix bugs in a system is to read the entire system so that you know how to proceed. The entire bug is as follows.

Waiting for cache lock: Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend. It is held by process 2070 (synaptic)

Fortunately, almost everything in Linux can be fixed using several methods. Each of them can be considered more or less difficult to execute depending on the level of knowledge the user has. In any case, I recommend you not to do anything that exceeds your knowledge of the system.

Method 1: Manually close any program that helps you install packages in Linux Mint

The first check we have to do when we get this error is to verify which applications, we have open.

Then, if we find any application that helps us to install programs in Linux Mint like Synaptic, GDebi, Software Center, and others, we have to close it.

So, you can fix the error with this simple method.

Method 2: Close APT instances on the terminal

If you don’t have any open instances, then you may be running an APT instance on the terminal. To find this out, you can run the following command.

ps aux | grep -i apt

By running it, you will get an output screen that lists all the open processes on the system that are related to or opened by APT.

The only thing left to do is to kill these processes with the following command

sudo kill -9 [PID]

If there are a lot of them, then it is better to use a different method. For example:

sudo killall apt apt-get

This way, in one command, you can kill all the processes opened by APT.

Method 3: Kill APT and DPKG lock files (Not recommended)

If either of the above two methods did not work for you, or you are an experienced system user, the only thing left to do is to remove the lock files from the system.

To achieve this, and being as careful as possible with what you are going to run, you can run each of the following commands from a terminal

sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/lock
sudo rm /var/cache/apt/archives/lock
sudo rm /var/lib/dpkg/lock* /var/cache/apt/archives/lock

After you have finished executing these commands, we are left to reconfigure APT with the following command

sudo dpkg --configure -a

Doing any of these three methods should resolve the error.

How to avoid this error in the daily use of the system?

One of the reasons this error occurs is because there is more than one instance of APT or DPKG running on the system. An easy but effective measure is to organize your work and avoid duplicate windows in programs such as Synaptic, or GDebi.

On the other hand, Linux Mint allows you to automate the process of installing updates. This is quite useful to obtain a more agile system, but it is possible that at some point we want to install an application, and it coincides with a system update.

To avoid this, you can open the update manager and from the Edit menu enter the preferences.

Then, go to the Automation tab and disable automatic system updates.

This is a good way to avoid this error in Linux Mint.


Linux Mint is one of the most widely used operating systems in the world and therefore one of the best documented. Therefore, fixing the ‘Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock-frontend’ bug in Linux Mint This bug directly related to APT and dpkg is easy to fix, but it is possible for a Linux Mint newbie to have a hard time because of it.

Finally, it is advisable to be careful with the tools that help us to install applications on the system so as not to open several instances and thus cause the error.