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I have a system that will not boot as /usr has been destroyed and I would like to get a list of installed packages before re-installing. I know that it's possible to get this using dpkg or apt, but I cannot run those.

Where in the filesystem is this information stored and what's the best way to get a list of installed apps from the files?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think you are looking for /var/lib/dpkg/status.

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That looks like it, thanks! – john Jun 25 '10 at 13:56

You could also take a look at /var/apt/cache/packages where all downloaded packages are cached. However, if a package was deleted, it would still remain there. And one more important thing: if you have already done a apt-get clean then it has already been cleaned.

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