Ubuntu Software Center Not Working? Here Are the Fixes

Ubuntu Software Center Not Working Here Are The Fixes Featured

The Ubuntu Software Center makes life easier for those who want to install their favorite software without the hassle of using the Terminal or building things from source. It allows users to also search for software and packages quickly and automatically take care of the dependencies along the way. Though rare, errors can happen that cause the Software Center not to work. A little troubleshooting can help you fix Ubuntu Software Center not working issues.

Issues After Clearing Cache or System

Some users have reported that after clearing the cache or using any system cleanup tools, they started having some form of a Ubuntu Software Center not working problem. If the Software Center loads at all and shows the Update tab, click that.

Ubuntu Software Center Not Working Here Are The Fixes Update

Click the refresh button at the top-left corner. This refreshes available updates and the Software Center. It’s also one of the few solutions that doesn’t require the terminal.

Software Center Not Loading

ubuntu-software-min

Sometimes the Ubuntu Software Center fails to load. If you see a message such as “Unable to download from … ” then it usually means that it cannot read the local cache because it doesn’t exist. To resolve this, you need to open the Terminal and enter:

If the above doesn’t work, then you may need to reinstall Gnome-Software.

You can also try the following:

This should pull down the latest version of Ubuntu, which should fix the issue.

Corrupted Cache

This is slightly trickier to deal with and different than the above. Essentially, something has gone wrong with the cached packages, and the Software Center cannot read them. Go back to the Terminal and enter:

Now the cache will be completely clear. Next, enter the command:

This will pull a clean package list to your machine and should allow you to install software via the search.

No Images or Software

ubuntu-no-pics

As you search for software, there are occasions where there is nothing loading. The same problem can display when there are no images within the Editors Picks section.

To fix this, type the following command in the Terminal:

This kills the software running within the Software Center.

Next, you need to remove the gnome file software location “~/.local/share/gnome-software.” Do this by entering the following in the Terminal:

If this seems scary, or you are afraid it will ruin your installation, you can opt to avoid deletion by moving it to another location. The Software Center will work fine either way. Just launch it as you would normally from the applications menu or the launcher if you have added it as a favorite.

Issues After Upgrading

While upgrading to a new version of Ubuntu normally goes smoothly, sometimes you’ll experience glitches after the process is complete. For example, the Ubuntu Software Center may not load or work at all. In this case, you may need to install Gnome Software from scratch versus reinstalling.

As with most solutions, open the terminal and enter the following:

You’ll need to reboot to complete the process.

Crashing

This is a bit of an unusual problem, but sometimes the Software Center crashes when entering categories. Usually this can be resolved by running the update commands as shown earlier in the article or by reinstalling as before.

The Language Fix

One of the oddest fixes for the Ubuntu Software Center not working problem is simply changing the language. You can even just re-select your current language. This fix usually only works after you’ve recently installed a new version of Ubuntu, used system cleanup tools, or updated Software Center. This refreshes your system just enough to let Software Center start working correctly again. Odd, yet effective for many users.

Go to “Settings -> Region & Language”. Select Language.

Ubuntu Software Center Not Working Here Are The Fixes Language

While you can select a different language if you want, simply choose your currently installed language. If that doesn’t make a difference, choose another language temporarily, reboot, and open Software Center again to see if this helps. You can change your language back to the original after this.

Select a language and press the green Select button.

Ubuntu Software Center Not Working Here Are The Fixes Language Choose

You can also install a new language completely. Select “Manage installed languages” at the bottom of the Region & Language page.

Then, select “Install / Remove Languages.”

Ubuntu Software Center Not Working Here Are The Fixes Install

Select a language from the list and choose “Apply.” You can also simply uncheck your language and choose “Apply” to uninstall it. Then, reboot, go back to this window, and reinstall your language.

Ubuntu Software Center Not Working Here Are The Fixes Install Choose

Finally, click “Apply System-Wide” to apply your changes at the next restart. If you need to reinstall your language, simply repeat the steps to reinstall.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I prevent this issue in the future?

Ideally, keep the Software Center up to date. It’s important to note that older versions of Ubuntu might not support the latest Software Center versions. If you update Software Center and then you start having issues, you may need to revert back to an older version or upgrade Ubuntu.

2. What if I’m using an older device?

Software Center isn’t easy on your device’s resources, since it’s such a major program. For older devices that keep having issues, it may be better to switch to Synaptic. While it’s not as user-friendly, it does work much smoother on older hardware.

Open the terminal and enter:

Note: If you have issues running Synaptic in Wayland, check out the fixes here.

3. Do I have to use Software Center?

No. It’s just a more user-friendly option. You can still find and install software using other methods. Ubuntu supports .deb files. You can find several Software Center alternatives to install what you need. Plus, Software Center doesn’t include everything, so you may still need to install software occasionally using these other methods.

Wrapping Up

This resolves some of the common problems that can happen with the Software Center. What have you encountered, and do you have any fixes that would help others? Let us know in the comments section below. Also, if Ubuntu is running slower than usual, try these fixes to speed things back up.

Crystal Crowder Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

5 comments

  1. The best way to avoid Software Center is to use Synaptic. Synaptic may not be as glitzy and may not have an as “modern” interface as Software Center but it is much more flexible and much more functional. I much prefer function over form.

    I’ve been using Synaptic on all the Debian-based distros I’ve used over at least the last 15 years. I cannot recall having any issues with it other than the ones I caused through improper use.

  2. I use Synaptic not the software center. Synaptic is much more powerful. I will admit it is not as user friendly at first, but it is a much better GUI in the long run.

  3. I’ve only had Kubuntu 20.04.3 for a month or so, and until the software center went out (all but the KDE Plasma apps), it’s been working quite well. I tried the update button first, but had to go into the terminal as suggested to bring the software center back.

    My question is why would this have been necessary on an up to date distro running on a very late model laptop? I don’t know exactly when it went out, but I did just upgrade to Win 11 on my dual boot system and I wonder if that had some affect on Kubuntu, although both OSs’ are on physically separate drives in the laptop.

    Anyway, thanks for the info as I am new to Linux and have a lot to learn.

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