How to Install Non-Repo Deb-packaged App in Debian


Obviously, if you want something from the official repo’s (or from other repos you can add in /etc/apt/sources.list), a simple

aptitude update

aptitude upgrade

will do. However, what if you want to install your own .deb file (say Spideroak or Google Chrome)?

First, open a terminal. Then type

uname -a

If you have something like “Linux nameOfComputer 3.14.2-amd64 . . . ” you have a 64-bit OS. If not (like a x86_64 or something else after your kernel, the 3rd item in the list), go with 32-bit. Debian uses multi-arch anyway, so you should be okay with a 32-bit on a 64-bit machine, but best to use what’s most suited.

But if you have a 64-bit debian machine, then download the 64-bit deb, not the rpm (which is packaged for Fedora-based distros that use yum instead of deb dpkg, I think).

Do the following as root (type “su” then password –> else, use sudo).

Then, go to your download folder. If it’s your Downloads folder (/home/userName/Downloads), then simply

cd Downloads [or cd /home/userName/Downloads]

Otherwise, use cd (change directory) to get to the directory/folder with your deb file. Check it is the right folder with


to list contents in the folder. If you see the deb file, then you’re in the right folder. Then, use dpkg to install:

dpkg -i *.deb

This works only if your deb file is the only deb file, with the asterisk being the wild card for various strings of characters. The “-i” is the option for … you guessed it … install! Another thing is to start typing your filename. Once you typed enough letters so that no other file names start with the same letters, simply press tab to autocomplete. E.g. if your file is called abcd.deb, type “ab” then press [Tab] and it should autocomplete. This would have worked for when you changed directory as well with “cd Dow” –> [Tab].


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