Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Save A List Of Installed Applications On Linux

Firstly I would like to apologize for the lack of updates to this site over the last few weeks. This is down to some personal problems I have been having, and due to Jaunty messing with my display on my MSI Wind. All is back to normal now, and I'm ready to go!

I have recently used this very neat trick within the dpkg packet manager. Have you ever started a fresh install, and forgot which applications you had installed on your old installation? It's a pain. Even when you think you have them all installed, you go to do something, and realize Damn! I forgot to install that.

If you load up a blank terminal, and run the following command:
dpkg --get-selections > apps.txt

This will store a list of every application that is currently installed to a file called apps.txt. If you are wanting to re-install your OS, then make sure that you save this file to a USB stick!

Once you are ready to install all your applications again:
dpkg --set-selections < apps.txt
dselect update
apt-get dselect-upgrade show

Now after a lot of downloading and installing, you will once have all of your applications installed again. It may be an idea before you re-install your OS to back up the /etc/apt/sources.list file, so that you are able to download the applications that you may of got else where.

If you have any questions about this methord, then please leave a comment!


  1. That is a brilliant tip! Thanks! I'll pass it round the office tomorrow (along with a link to your blog)

  2. Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for.

  3. Firstly, thank you for this tip and sorry about my English (I'm Brazilian).
    This method will create a list of programs installed at the momment of this command or a list of all programs that was installed (including programs that was installed and uninstalled after)?

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  5. Wow thanks for your attention, I have also save your link in my blogroll, thank you very much. Regards from Indonesia.

  6. thank you for brillinat idea really, can we save all installed programs to memory stick instead of redownloading?
    i mean it's pain in the neck for users with low conncetion speeds,,


  8. @Jaffar

    it wont save the actual files and apps, this will only save a list of what apps you had in your last OS and tell the add/delete manager what to download and install onto your system.

  9. hi...nice tip mate but could u plz tel me where dis file called apps.txt get stored??
    thank you.

  10. @vishnubk

    The file apps.txt will be saved in the directory that you currently are in. To check what directory you are in, you can use the command: pwd

  11. *love*

    I just chowned my whole /usr (stupid), and was directed here by a very helpful IRC user.
    This is probably the most helpful hint I've ever seen. EVER. Thanks for this ^_^

  12. Very nice . We are in deal with LInux services and <a href=">Thin clients</a>