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I deleted the /usr/share/man/man1 directory and wondered if there was a quick way to recover the manuals for the installed packages.

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You should be able to re-install them with apt-get. You can try... sudo apt-get install man manpages. –  Joe Internet Jun 27 '11 at 1:56
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2 Answers

Installing man page packages

According to here, you don't get a lot of man pages with the default Debian package selection. That guy said to run:

apt-get install manpages-dev

It looks like this page lists package names for various man page packages you can get.

Meta Packages / reconfigure

I'm generally an Ubuntu user over Debian, but they're quite related. For Ubuntu, I'd try something like:

dpkg-reconfigure ubuntu-desktop

In that case, 'ubuntu-desktop' in a meta package that defines the default packages to be installed with the desktop version of Ubuntu. There's got to be some debian equivalant.. perhaps "debian-desktop"? Maybe look in to that if you need to.

Good luck! Hope that helps!

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Sorry about the tardy reply running 'mandb' seemed to restore them. –  marabutt Jul 16 '11 at 1:07
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The only way to restore all of those files will be to re-install any packages that had files installed there.

This command will show you a list of installed packages with files that belong in that directory:

dpkg -S /usr/share/man/man1

Then you can re-install those (or just the ones you care about) with:

aptitude reinstall <package name(s)>
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Thanks for all your help everyone –  marabutt Jun 27 '11 at 9:05
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