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HowTo: install apt-file. It an be used to show which files are being included by a package.


apt-file an be used to show which files are being included by a package.

Quote Debian package apt-filearchive.org:

search for files within Debian packages (command-line interface) apt-file is a command line tool for searching files contained in packages for the APT packaging system. You can search in which package a file is included or list the contents of a package without installing or fetching it.


The order in which these commands are run matter, [1] but the process is idempotent. This means it is possible to re-apply all of the following steps.

1. Delete /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/30usability-miscarchive.org because it contains settings that speed up APTarchive.org but break apt-file and command-not-found. [2]

sudo rm -f /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/30usability-misc

2. Install apt-file.

Install apt-file. To accomplish that, the following steps A. to D. need to be done.

A. Update the package lists.

sudo apt update

B. Upgrade the system.

sudo apt full-upgrade

C. Install the apt-file package.

Using apt command line parameter --no-install-recommends is in most cases optional.

sudo apt install --no-install-recommends apt-file

D. Done.

The procedure of installing apt-file is complete.

3. Run apt-file update with root rights.

sudo apt-file update

4. Done.

Setup of apt-file has been completed.



sudo apt-file list package-name


sudo apt-file list nano

See Also[edit]


  1. Also apt update cannot be skipped since package contents files need to be downloaded.
  2. Acquire::IndexTargets::deb::Contents-deb::DefaultEnabled false;

    breaks apt-file because it requires /var/lib/apt/lists/*Contents* to exist.

    See: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=857090archive.org

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