Without a broadband internet connection downloading and installing packages/programs can be 'difficult'. This guide helps but mainly covers those people that have NO internet access but do have occasional access to a 2nd machine that does have broadband access. The 2nd machine can be running Windows or Mac, or even Linux. It does NOT have to be running Ubuntu.

Old packages can be downloaded fairly easily this way but getting updated packages needs an occasional refresh/reload of the repositories database. The refresh requires some limited internet access such as a; dial-up modem, ham-radio or something fairly primitive like that. Alternatively being able to plug in at a library, WiFi hotspot or internet café every few months for an hour or so would be good? Note that it is sometimes possible to take the hard-drive out of one machine and use it in another but this would require great care! There is another guide using apt-medium to help if the machine has absolutely no internet access and if updates are required.

Select Packages

Start Synaptic Package Manager. Search for and "Mark" all the applications that you want to install/upgrade in the usual way.

Generate Script

Instead of clicking the “Apply” button from the toolbar as you would normally do, go to the File menu and select “Generate Package Download Script” menu option to generate the download script.

A dialogue box will prompt to save the generated script file. Give it a name like ‘Ubuntu-020610-MainMachine.sh’ (to show what the file is, what date, and for which machine) and click the “Save” button. This script file needs to be carried to a machine which has a fast Internet connection to be executed there.


You can download or save the files to a; Usb-stick, flash-card, memory card, CD, rewritable CD, DVD (wastes a LOT of space as the files are tiny), rewritable DVD, external hard-drive or even a floppy-disk if you have one. It is quite possible that you might be able to easily fit all the downloads on a camera's memory card, or a phone, mp3player, or hand-held, definitely on an iPod. There are a lot of options here.

The trick is to put the script ‘Ubuntu-020610-MainMachine.sh’ into its own folder on the 2nd machine. All the packages download into the same folder that the script is in so if you put it on the desktop (as i did first time) then you will have a lot of icons filling the desktop very fast. If you right-click on the desktop and "Create", "Make" or "New folder" and drag the script into that then all the packages go into their quite tidily.

Open the folder and double-click the script.

Downloading in Windows

There appears to be 4 main ways of using the script in Windows.

  1. Put the script in a folder and then double-click on the script
  2. Firefox Add-Ons
  3. Boot up a LiveCd

  4. Wget for Windows

For very old versions of Synaptic the first line in the script needed to be removed. To do the edit on a Windows machine right-click on the script and "Open with" and choose "Notepad" which works much the same as the Gedit text-editor.

Firefox Add-Ons

You can install two Add-Ons for Mozilla Firefox; Linkification and DownThemAll ...

  1. Linkification to convert text links into genuine, clickable links.

  2. DownThemAll Add-On is a download manager/accelerator. When installed, go to Tools > DownThemAll > >downthemall:

  3. Save files onto your Usb-stick.
  4. Include *.deb in fast filtering

And Start!

Ubuntu Live CD

This is really just using a LiveCd session to make the Windows machine into a Linux machine temporarily. Please see Downloading in Linux just a little further down the page.

Windows Wget way

The first line need to be removed if the script is to be run on a Windows machine and rename to file to ubuntu.bat

You can use Wget for Windows.

Don´t forget set the path to the folder where wget.exe is. You can also put wget.exe in c:\wgetdir\ ( edit the script with a text editor and replace all references to wget with c:\wgetdir\wget )

Downloading in Linux

It will be convenient if the machine with fast Internet connection runs some flavour of GNU/Linux operating system with wget installed on it.

Start a shell/command prompt, change to the directory where you want to store the files to downloaded and run the script as shown:

sh ubuntu.sh

An alternative way using the file manager (Nautilus), is to move the script to the directory where you want to store the files to download and click in the script file (ubuntu.sh)


Once the downloads are finished, carry all the downloaded files to the Ubuntu machine and copy them to a new folder (say 'Downloads') in the home directory.

Start Synaptic Package Manager again and select the same package(s) name(s) that you initially selected. Go to “Add downloaded packages” from the File menu, notice that the window that pops up is titled "Select directory" not "Select file(s)", you do not select individual package files but the directory which contains them. Therefore you should browse to the directory which contains 'Downloads', click once on 'Downloads' to select it, then click Open. Synaptic will then scan the selected directory for packages and offer to install them.

It is really quite simple to use

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

See also

CategoryPackageManagement CategoryOffline

Synaptic/PackageDownloadScript (last edited 2020-05-29 08:52:49 by jwilk)