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Fix "unable to lock database" Error In Arch linux

How To Fix “unable to lock database” Error In Arch Linux

By sk
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The other day, I was about to update my Arch Linux system. When I issued the following command to update Arch Linux server, it showed an error, and won't let me to install any package or remove any package.

# pacman -Syu

Sample output:

:: Synchronizing package databases...
error: failed to update core (unable to lock database)
error: failed to update extra (unable to lock database)
error: failed to update community (unable to lock database)
error: failed to update multilib (unable to lock database)
error: failed to synchronize any databases
error: failed to init transaction (unable to lock database)
error: could not lock database: File exists
 if you're sure a package manager is not already
 running, you can remove /var/lib/pacman/db.lck

unable to lock database Error In Arch linux

The beauty of Linux distros is sometimes they will the explicitly display the solution along with the error message. As you can see in the above output, it says: "..you can remove /var/lib/pacman/db.lck".

So, I simply deleted the aforementioned file with command:

$ sudo rm /var/lib/pacman/db.lck

Voila! It worked. I can then able to update, install and remove without any problems.

$ pacman -Syu

Sample output:

:: Synchronizing package databases...
 core 122.8 KiB 162K/s 00:01 [######################] 100%
 extra 1771.8 KiB 249K/s 00:07 [######################] 100%
 community 3.3 MiB 256K/s 00:13 [######################] 100%
 multilib 163.5 KiB 265K/s 00:01 [######################] 100%
:: Starting full system upgrade...
resolving dependencies...
looking for conflicting packages...

Packages (8) ca-certificates-mozilla-3.22-1 coreutils-8.25-1 curl-7.47.1-1
 gcc-5.3.0-4 gcc-libs-5.3.0-4 libgcrypt-1.6.5-1 nano-2.5.2-1
 pacman-mirrorlist-20160208-2

Total Download Size: 42.79 MiB
Total Installed Size: 187.90 MiB
Net Upgrade Size: 0.91 MiB

:: Proceed with installation? [Y/n] y
:: Retrieving packages ...
 gcc-libs-5.3.0-4-x86_64 12.7 MiB 261K/s 00:50 [######################] 100%
 coreutils-8.25-1-x86_64 2.1 MiB 262K/s 00:08 [######################] 100%
 ca-certificates-moz... 363.0 KiB 241K/s 00:02 [######################] 100%
 curl-7.47.1-1-x86_64 798.3 KiB 263K/s 00:03 [######################] 100%
 gcc-5.3.0-4-x86_64 26.1 MiB 247K/s 01:48 [######################] 100%
 libgcrypt-1.6.5-1-x... 403.5 KiB 244K/s 00:02 [######################] 100%
 nano-2.5.2-1-x86_64 407.0 KiB 262K/s 00:02 [######################] 100%
 pacman-mirrorlist-2... 5.3 KiB 408K/s 00:00 [######################] 100%
(8/8) checking keys in keyring [######################] 100%
(8/8) checking package integrity [######################] 100%
(8/8) loading package files [######################] 100%
(8/8) checking for file conflicts [######################] 100%
(8/8) checking available disk space [######################] 100%
:: Processing package changes...
(1/8) upgrading gcc-libs [######################] 100%
(2/8) upgrading coreutils [######################] 100%
(3/8) upgrading ca-certificates-mozilla [######################] 100%
(4/8) upgrading curl [######################] 100%
(5/8) upgrading gcc [######################] 100%
(6/8) upgrading libgcrypt [######################] 100%
(7/8) upgrading nano [######################] 100%
(8/8) upgrading pacman-mirrorlist [######################] 100%
warning: /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist installed as /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist.pacnew

Hope this helps.

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18 comments

Deepak August 11, 2018 - 8:11 am

hey m unable to delete db.lck file. it showing even cant open.
plz help me.

Reply
sk August 11, 2018 - 10:30 am

If your user has sudo permissions, you can definitely delete that file.

Reply
Alessandro December 14, 2018 - 10:13 pm

Thank you, this article is helpful!

Reply
I use arch btw... February 15, 2019 - 6:25 am

Excellent work! My Manjaro install didn’t show the location of the lock file, so thanks for the guide!

Reply
islamux June 30, 2019 - 6:58 pm

Thank you , it’s helpful.

Reply
mahi July 22, 2019 - 1:21 am

now (21.07.2019) it does not(((

[… ~]$ sudo pacman -Syu
[sudo] password for …:
:: Synchronizing package databases…
error: failed to update core (unable to lock database)
error: failed to update extra (unable to lock database)
error: failed to update community (unable to lock database)
error: failed to update multilib (unable to lock database)
error: failed to synchronize all databases
EOF

Reply
Sebastian September 27, 2019 - 12:39 am

Thank you, that brought my system back!

Reply
IgorT November 4, 2019 - 10:56 pm

Thank you sir!

Reply
Jesus Hernandez December 15, 2019 - 7:57 pm

I just had the same problem but without it saying the solution you got at the buttom. I still tried running your command to delete that file and it worked. Thanks!

Reply
annonoymous March 11, 2020 - 6:24 am

THANK YOU SO MUCH IVE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH THIS FOR HOURS 🙂

Reply
Manish March 20, 2020 - 10:28 pm

$ sudo rm /var/lib/pacman/db.lck
[sudo] password for xyz:
rm: cannot remove ‘/var/lib/pacman/db.lck’: No such file or directory
$ pacman -Syu
error: you cannot perform this operation unless you are root.
$ pacman -Syu
error: you cannot perform this operation unless you are root.
$ sudo rm /vr/lib/pacman/db.lck
rm: cannot remove ‘/vr/lib/pacman/db.lck’: No such file or directory
$

Reply
sk March 21, 2020 - 11:43 am

Check if your user is in sudoers list and then delete the file. There is a typo in this line – “/vr/lib/pacman/db.lck”. It is var, not vr.

Reply
Harsh Sanmukhani April 22, 2020 - 3:01 pm

thanks it works for me…. 🙂

Reply
Mohammed May 23, 2020 - 7:17 am

Thank you so much it works

Reply
Yash July 12, 2020 - 6:31 pm

I got error : failed retrieving file core.db

Reply
sk July 13, 2020 - 11:24 am

It could be due to Arch Linux mirror problem. Choose a nearest working mirror and try again. Also check if you have enough space in /var directory. More details in this thread -> https://forum.manjaro.org/t/error-failed-retrieving-file-core-db-from-another-way-to-update/11534/11

Reply
IMM August 26, 2020 - 11:29 am

Hey. I use ‘Thunar Root’ to open ‘/var/lib/pacman/’ then I delete ‘db.lck’
It works for me
Hope this help

Reply
Moein from iran September 27, 2020 - 2:26 am

thank you a lot

Reply

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