[How To] Fix “Failed to download repository information” In Ubuntu 13.04

Continuing my journey with Ubuntu 13.04 beta, I stumbled across an update problem. I noticed that for past couple of days, Ubuntu had not notified me of any available updates. Considering that I was using the beta version, it felt very weird not to have any update notifications. This is why I decided to check for any available updates on my own. I ran the Software Updater and after checking for updates it threw up this error:

Failed to download repository information. Check your internet connection.

Failed to download repository information Ubuntu 13.04

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to fix this update problem in Ubuntu.

How To Fix “Failed to download repository information” Update error:

As there is no more information available in the Software Updater GUI about the cause of error, we have to use the command line to find it out.

Step 1: Find out what is causing the error

Open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and use the following command:

sudo apt-get update

Wait for this command to run completely. It should throw you an error in the end something like this:

W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/venerix/pkg/ubuntu/dists/raring/main/binary-i386/Packages  404  Not Found

E: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

As you can see above, the updater failed to find a specific PPA package. And this was the reason why Software Updater did not run successfully.

Step 2: Removing the root cause of the problem

Once we know that this PPA (or any other software source) is the root cause of this update error, the next step is to remove them from the list of software sources. To do that, open Software & Updates from Unity Dash:

Software & Updates Ubuntu 13.04

In the Software & Updates, go to Other Software and look for the software source that was causing this problem. Uncheck the box before it to exclude it from future updates.

Software Sources Ubuntu 13.04

That’s it. You don’t need to restart or something. Just run the Software Updater again and it should work normally.

By the way, this step will just exclude this software source from the list. To completely get rid of it, read this article on how to delete a PPA.

In case you are wondering why this error happened in first place, it was because of an unsupported PPA for Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail. I had added a PPA which was not available for Raring Ringtail and this is why the specified URL in the update gave 404 error.

Questions, suggestions, help? Feel free to hit the comment box.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Raclima23 Amilcar Caley

    thanks for the article

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      you are welcome.

      • ggga h rtt

        sure it worked just fine: step by step approach only done by experts shown.T.H.A.N.K.S!

        • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

          You are welcome.

  • George

    Thank you so much for your simple and absolute working solution. Searching so long in the forums I heard so many “stupid” things for that problem. And, you solved as a charm. Thanks once again,

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      My aim is to provide “how-to” which can be easily followed beginners. Glad that its working well.

  • Rene

    Dear Abhishek, normally, I am patient and wait ‘ till all the bugs are sorted out after an upgrade (12.10-13.04) but this time, my software updater acted weird. How can you expect updates to install if the software updater doesn’t work !!! Thanks to your article about how to fix….I was able to correct things. thank you very much for going the extra mile and help people, that are not up to your skill level but still love Linux. My compliments also for the clarity and easy to unserstand “style” of your article, complete with pictures…..foolproof.
    Unfortunately, there are tons af articles on the internet, that don’t work or do not make any sense at all or worse…do more damage to the system. You are an example of how it should be. Thanks and keep up the good work Rene,

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      Hi Rene,

      Thanks for the kind words for appreciating my work.

      When I started with Linux (with Ubuntu), I ran into several problems (I still do). The forums did help me but I felt that the instructions were more vague and were not easy to follow for beginners. and this is why I started my own blog with tutorials aiming at beginners. Most of the big blogs focus more on the intermediate to advance users and they take many things for granted that could be troubling for newbies. I understand the pain of being a beginner and try to see the problem from their perspective :)

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  • greg letbetter

    i had ran into likewise problems, thanks for the heads-up! greg letbetter (arkansas)

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      You are welcome.

  • Nagaraj

    Thank you very much for going the extra mile. Your guide is very easy to follow and saved me a lot of time…cheers!!

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      Thanks Nagraj for appreciating my effort.

  • toybrain88

    Dear I’m a new user of ubuntu and installed ubuntu 13.04 today… I’m getting same error which you have mentioned above while downloading any software from “Ubuntu Software Center”… I’ve followed the same procedure which you have defined but unable to find any PPA in “Software & Updates —> Other Softwares”… Attached is the screenshot for your reference… Kindly help me in this regard…

    • toybrain88

      This is the screenshot when I click on details…

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash


      I cannot see what is causing the error here. Can you post at least one complete line of “W;Failed to fetch”?

      • toybrain88

        Thanx alot Abhishek for your response but I’ve installed ubuntu 12.04 and its fine for me… :)

        • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

          Ah well… all is well when end well.

  • daniel

    I’m new to Linux & Ubuntu 13.04 it great, thank you very much for your diligent and easy to follow fix for the fail software updater, thanks again.

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      You are welcome Daniel.

  • aadhilkhan

    doesn’t work for me

    • aadhilkhan

      404 not found…..please help!

      • aadhilkhan

        i just want to install unity….it is not there during startup…!

        • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

          I see Natty in it. Which version of Ubuntu are you using?? There are some old repositories in it. Better to get rid of it.

  • julioceaseless

    hey nice “how to” article…I have a different problem.i had an incomplete update from ubuntu 12.04 to 12.10 and now my network is screwed…PC cant recognize any network(wireless or etho)..how can i fix this?? tried recovery mode options but ooops!!none has worked..

  • Alan Kayholm

    I have to say being new to the Ubuntu world you guys all rock and are very helpful. I hope you guys enjoy the holidays and keep up the good work, it is much appreciated.

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      Thanks for the kind words Alan.

  • shakila

    I can’t seem to delete my ppa’s. Can I do this via terminal? p.s. am a newbie thanks a zillion!

  • Ankit

    hey i have installed ubuntu 13.10 and i have run the codes you have provided in your blog but i only get a message that “unable to locate package”..how can i cope with this problem?
    help me please

    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      Which package? What were you trying to install?

  • Norman

    E:Encountered a section with no Package: header, E:Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/ppa.launchpad.net_libreoffice_ppa_ubuntu_dists_saucy_main_i18n_Translation-en%%5fUS, E:The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.

  • Norman
    • http://www.computerandyou.net/ Abhishek Prakash

      As shown in the article, remove PPAs related to kazade, luciomrx, piotr-zagawa from software sources.

  • avijit

    hi Abhishek,

    can you help me out with this error?


  • marina

    Thank you Sir