My setup at work did not allow me to install the latest TeX Live via the net installer. Instead, I downloaded the huge ISO, mounted it to some unused drive, and installed it from there without adding any options.

After installation, I unmounted the ISO drive and performed a package update via the command line

tlmgr update --self --all --reinstall-forcibly-removed

to see if there are any software/package updates. However, I received the error message that pointed to the original mounted location for the ISO, stating

Cannot determine type of tlpdb from R:!
tlmgr.pl: Cannot load TeX Live database from R:

(where R: was the original drive I mounted the ISO to).

How do I maintain/update my distribution in this case?


When you install TeX Live, you can add options to install-tl, one of which is the repository from which to download packages/updates. Since you're using a local installation (a huge ISO), the default for TeX Live here is to specify a local repository that points to the drive letter where you mounted the ISO. Subsequent attempts at updating will also point to this, unless it's changed.

To change this after installation, you can call tlmgr with an optional -repository <URL/path> option (typically <URL/path> should point to the mirror http://mirror.ctan.org/systems/texlive/tlnet). However, this is only a temporary change for that specific run of tlmgr.

For a permanent update that will be stored inside the TeX Live Package Database (tlpkg/tlmgr.tlpdb), use the option repository option

tlmgr option repository http://mirror.ctan.org/systems/texlive/tlnet

after which you can update in the regular way:

tlmgr update --self --all --reinstall-forcibly-removed

If the above doesn't work (for whatever reason), you can open tlpkg/texlive.tlpdb and find the entry starting with

depend opt_location:

(usually at the top under category TLCore). This identifies the location of the repository. Change it to an online repository mirror, that is,

depend opt_location:http://mirror.ctan.org/systems/texlive/tlnet

and rerun your update; peace will be restored.

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  • 2
    Trick tlmgr option repository ctan is the same as specifying the mirror url above – daleif Jul 4 '17 at 22:42

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