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How To Fix "Encountered a section with no Package: header" Error In Ubuntu

Fix “Encountered a section with no Package: header” Error In Ubuntu

By sk
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Today, I encountered with the following error when I try to update my Ubuntu 20.04 LTS desktop system.

$ sudo apt update

Sample output:

Get:1 http://ny-mirrors.evowise.com/ubuntu focal InRelease [265 kB]
Hit:2 http://linux.teamviewer.com/deb stable InRelease                                                                                                                   
Hit:3 http://ppa.launchpad.net/costales/yaru-colors-folder-color/ubuntu focal InRelease
Hit:4 http://ny-mirrors.evowise.com/ubuntu focal-updates InRelease  
Hit:5 http://ny-mirrors.evowise.com/ubuntu focal-backports InRelease
Hit:6 http://ny-mirrors.evowise.com/ubuntu focal-security InRelease
Hit:7 http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb stable InRelease
Fetched 265 kB in 3s (99.8 kB/s)
Reading package lists... Error!
E: Encountered a section with no Package: header
E: Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_universe_binary-i386_Packages
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.

I tried again with Graphical Synaptic package manager. But no luck! I got the same error!

Encountered a section with no Package: header error in Ubuntu
Encountered a section with no Package: header error in Ubuntu

This is one of the common problem in Ubuntu and Debian-based systems.

After reading the output a bit carefully, I understood that the the package lists or status file is corrupted for some reason, so it could not be parsed. For those wondering, the status file contains the information about the installed deb packages. We can solve this issue by removing the damaged package list and status file and regenerate them as described below.

Fix "Encountered a section with no Package: header" Error In Ubuntu

First, remove the damaged package list using command:

$ sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/* -vf

The above command will delete all the package source listing from your Ubuntu system.

Here is the sample output from my Ubuntu 20.04 LTS desktop:

rm: cannot remove '/var/lib/apt/lists/auxfiles': Is a directory
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/dl.google.com_linux_chrome_deb_dists_stable_InRelease'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/dl.google.com_linux_chrome_deb_dists_stable_main_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/linux.teamviewer.com_deb_dists_stable_InRelease'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/linux.teamviewer.com_deb_dists_stable_main_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/linux.teamviewer.com_deb_dists_stable_main_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/lock'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_Contents-amd64.lz4'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_Contents-i386.lz4'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_InRelease'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_main_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_multiverse_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_restricted_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_universe_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_universe_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_universe_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_universe_dep11_Components-amd64.yml.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_universe_dep11_icons-48x48.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_universe_dep11_icons-64x64.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-backports_universe_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_Contents-amd64.lz4'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_Contents-i386.lz4'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_InRelease'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_dep11_Components-amd64.yml.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_dep11_icons-48x48.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_dep11_icons-64x64.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_multiverse_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_multiverse_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_multiverse_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_multiverse_dep11_Components-amd64.yml.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_multiverse_dep11_icons-48x48.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_multiverse_dep11_icons-64x64.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_multiverse_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_restricted_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_restricted_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_restricted_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_restricted_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_Contents-amd64.lz4'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_Contents-i386.lz4'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_InRelease'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_main_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_main_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_main_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_main_dep11_Components-amd64.yml.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_main_dep11_icons-48x48.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_main_dep11_icons-64x64.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_main_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_multiverse_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_multiverse_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_multiverse_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_restricted_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_restricted_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_restricted_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_restricted_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_universe_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_universe_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_universe_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_universe_dep11_Components-amd64.yml.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_universe_dep11_icons-48x48.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_universe_dep11_icons-64x64.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-security_universe_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_universe_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_universe_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_universe_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_universe_dep11_Components-amd64.yml.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_universe_dep11_icons-48x48.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_universe_dep11_icons-64x64.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal_universe_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_Contents-amd64.lz4'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_Contents-i386.lz4'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_InRelease'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_main_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_main_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_main_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_main_dep11_Components-amd64.yml.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_main_dep11_icons-48x48.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_main_dep11_icons-64x64.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_main_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_multiverse_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_multiverse_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_multiverse_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_multiverse_dep11_Components-amd64.yml.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_multiverse_dep11_icons-48x48.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_multiverse_dep11_icons-64x64.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_multiverse_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_restricted_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_restricted_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_restricted_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_restricted_i18n_Translation-en'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_universe_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_universe_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_universe_cnf_Commands-amd64'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_universe_dep11_Components-amd64.yml.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_universe_dep11_icons-48x48.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_universe_dep11_icons-64x64.tar.gz'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ny-mirrors.evowise.com_ubuntu_dists_focal-updates_universe_i18n_Translation-en'
rm: cannot remove '/var/lib/apt/lists/partial': Is a directory
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ppa.launchpad.net_costales_yaru-colors-folder-color_ubuntu_dists_focal_InRelease'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ppa.launchpad.net_costales_yaru-colors-folder-color_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_binary-amd64_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ppa.launchpad.net_costales_yaru-colors-folder-color_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_binary-i386_Packages'
removed '/var/lib/apt/lists/ppa.launchpad.net_costales_yaru-colors-folder-color_ubuntu_dists_focal_main_i18n_Translation-en'

Now, run the following command to rebuild the package source listing:

$ sudo apt update

This will take a while depends upon your Internet speed. Be patient!

Once the package listing is regenerated, do a full update by running the following commands one by one:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade
$ sudo apt dist-upgrade

After updating the Ubuntu system, clear the package cache:

$ sudo apt autoclean
$ sudo apt autoremove

Finally, close all opened programs and reboot your system:

$ sudo reboot

The problem should be gone by now.

Just in case if you still see the same error, remove the status file and rebuild it using following commands:

$ sudo rm /var/lib/dpkg/status
$ sudo touch /var/lib/dpkg/status
$ sudo apt update

Don't forget to perform a full system update and clean the apt cache and then reboot your system.

Hope this helps.

Other common problems in Ubuntu:

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