Fix ‘Failed to download repository information’ error while updating elementary OS

One of the most common problems seen in Linux distros is the ‘Failed to download repository information’ error when running the software update. Unfortunately, elementary OS also can throw this error over a period of time when third-party software are installed. Actually, the problem is not specifically due to the operating system itself, but the way the updates are delivered from several sources. This is open source world, so there is no single source of updates. Additionally, as you keep installing updates from third-party sources, they add their own repository URLs to the ‘software update’ app of your Linux distro, which may get outdated in future leading to errors, and in this particular case I will shown you how to fix it on elementary OS freya.

Launch ‘Terminal’ and type the following commands one-at-a-time.

sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

You should see plenty of updates going on and after it ends, check the process thoroughly, you will find the culprit repository source(S) that was not found and that’s causing the error. Note down the errors or may be just keep the terminal minimized. In this example, we have error:

Failed to fetch Unable to find expected entry 'main/binary-i386/Packages' in Release file (Wrong sources.list entry or malformed file)

Terminal elementary OS
Terminal elementary OS

Go to ‘Applications’  and launch ‘Software Update’.

Launch Software Updater
Launch Software Updater

Click ‘Settings’ after it finishes checking for update.

Software Update Error
Software Update Error

Go to ‘Other software’ tab. This is where elementary OS stores the software update sources. Go through the repository sources and uncheck the source that was not found in the command terminal. You must enter root password.

Software Update - elementary OS
Software Update – elementary OS

Try updating again, it should be a success!

Software Update Settings
Software Update Settings

Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. Hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more, and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!


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