To compile something, I needed the zlib1g-dev package to be installed so I launched an apt-get install zlib1g-dev.

apt-get informed me nicely that the package was already auto-installed because of an other package, and that it understands that I want it installed explicitly now :

# apt-get install zlib1g-dev
zlib1g-dev is already the newest version.
zlib1g-dev set to manually installed.

My compilation done, I don't need it any more explicitly, so I want to revert its status to the previous one : auto-installed. This way it will be pruned automatically when it will not be needed any more with a simple apt-get autoremove.

I cannot do an apt-get remove zlib1g-dev since some packages still depends on it.

So how may I revert the package zlib1g-devinstallation state to auto-installed ?

I know that I might edit /var/lib/apt/extended_states by hand from

Package: zlib1g-dev
Auto-Installed: 0


Package: zlib1g-dev
Auto-Installed: 1

... but it just doesn't feel right.

3 Answers 3


Aptitude can help you when you initially install the package:

aptitude install "zlib1g-dev&M"

Or, after your have installed the package:

aptitude markauto "zlib1g"

Edit: If you do not have aptitude, you can use

apt-mark auto zlib1g-dev
  • 11
    Good answer, but I +1's @ArvindSing's answer using apt-mark because it does not require that you install aptitude. apt-mark comes with apt package which everyone should already have. Jan 17, 2013 at 16:04
  • Worked for me. Nevertheless I had to use "sudo", at least with the command I issued which was "aptitude markauto ...".
    – Lv2eof
    Sep 25, 2022 at 21:48

apt-mark can help you:

apt-mark auto zlib1g-dev

For 11.04 or older, use "apt-get markauto" instead of "apt-mark auto"


This is what you're looking for.

sudo apt-get markauto first-package second-package etc-package


apt-get --help
  • 16
    Please note that this is deprecated now in favor of apt-mark
    – Joril
    Oct 1, 2012 at 9:23

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