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.
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
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:
sudo apt update && sudo apt -y upgrade
If the above doesn’t work, then you may need to reinstall Gnome-Software.
sudo apt autoremove gnome-software && sudo apt install gnome-software
You can also try the following:
sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade -f
This should pull down the latest version of Ubuntu, which should fix the issue.
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:
sudo apt clean
Now the cache will be completely clear. Next, enter the command:
sudo apt update
This will pull a clean package list to your machine and should allow you to install software via the search.
No Images or Software
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:
sudo rm -rf ~/.local/share/gnome-software
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:
sudo apt install gnome-software
You’ll need to reboot to complete the process.
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.
sudo apt install --reinstall software-center
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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:
sudo apt install synaptic
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.
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.
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