Fixing ‘Failed to Synchronize Databases’ Error in Arch Linux

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Quick Overview

If you’re in a rush and want to fix this problem quickly, just run the below command:

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

However, I recommend you read the entire article to understand the main reason for this issue and become an informed Linux user.

Are you experiencing the “failed to synchronize all databases (unable to lock database)” error when installing packages or updating your system in Arch or Manjaro-based distributions?

Pacman lock database error

You’ve come to the right place. Let’s understand why this issue arises in the first place. The “lock database” error typically occurs when another package manager or process is actively utilizing the package database.

When a package manager or process engages in operations like package installation, updates, or removal, it’s crucial to ensure the secure and consistent execution of these operations. That’s why it locks the database by creating a “db.lck file” (reference).

However, this issue can be easily resolved by implementing the following methods:

Solution 1: Check for the Running Processes

Make sure there are no other instances of “pacman” or “yay” or any other package management tool running in the background or on another terminal window.

Run the below command to list all the “pacman” or “yay” processes running in your system:

$ ps aux | grep 'pacman\|yay


Listing all the already running pacman and yay process in linux

If you encounter any conflicting tools or processes involved in package installation, updates, or removal, you can simply close the terminal window or the relevant process to proceed smoothly.

Solution 2: Remove the Locked Databases

If the above step did not work, it’s possible that the package database is locked due to a previous operation that didn’t complete successfully.

Ensure that the locked database file is present by running the below command:

$ ls -lah /var/lib/pacman/ | grep db.lck


Checking the pacman database lock file

If the “db.lck” file is found at the specified location, it suggests that a previous operation might have failed, as the file is typically not removed after an unsuccessful task.

Run the following command to remove it manually:

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


Removing the pacman database file manually

After removing the lock files, try running “sudo pacman -Sy” again.

Pacman locked database removed

Congratulations! The database lock has been successfully removed, and your “pacman” is now operating in its normal state.

Solution 3: Reboot Your System

In the event of all other attempts being unsuccessful, initiating a system reboot is highly likely to remove any existing locks on the package databases, thereby restoring the functionality of the “pacman” utility to its normal state.

Always be careful when making changes to your system’s package management, and be sure to follow best practices for your specific Linux distribution.

If you have any questions or queries related to this article, then feel free to ask them in the comment section.

Till then, peace!

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