Twice now this has happened to me. After clicking the button to install updates an error message appears saying “Not enough free disk space”.
After some Googling, I found a solution on the Ask Ubuntu Forums.
This happens because some kernel packages hang around even after updated ones replace them. The solution is simple. Delete what is no longer being used.
Step 1 – Find Your Kernel Release
There is a handy command you can use called
uname, which can print out various system
uname --help to find out more.
To print the current kernel release, use the
-r option, which will look something like this:
# Print the current kernel release uname -r # OUTPUT: 3.13.0-40-generic
Hold on to the output of this for the next step.
Step 2 – Uninstall What You Don’t Need
It’s time for the scary part. We’re going to start removing old kernel packages that are no longer needed. If you remove the one that is currently in use, your machine will not boot!
Here’s what we’re going to do:
- use the
dpkgcommand to figure out what’s installed
- remove packages that aren’t related to our current kernel release (from step 1)
Note: You might only need to remove one or two packages to recover the amount of space needed.
The following commands will list the packages that are installed. From here we can start installing things that don’t match our kernel release.
dpkg -l linux-image\* dpkg -l linux-headers\* dpkg -l linux-tools\* # Sample output for "linux-image\*" # ||/ Name Version Architecture Description # +++-=================================-=====================-=====================-======================================================================== # un linux-image <none> <none> (no description available) # un linux-image-3.0 <none> <none> (no description available) # rc linux-image-3.13.0-32-generic 3.13.0-32.57 amd64 Linux kernel image for version 3.13.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP # ii linux-image-3.13.0-37-generic 3.13.0-37.64 amd64 Linux kernel image for version 3.13.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP # ii linux-image-3.13.0-39-generic 3.13.0-39.66 amd64 Linux kernel image for version 3.13.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP # ii linux-image-3.13.0-40-generic 3.13.0-40.69 amd64 Linux kernel image for version 3.13.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP # rc linux-image-extra-3.13.0-32-gener 3.13.0-32.57 amd64 Linux kernel extra modules for version 3.13.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP # ii linux-image-extra-3.13.0-37-gener 3.13.0-37.64 amd64 Linux kernel extra modules for version 3.13.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP # ii linux-image-extra-3.13.0-39-gener 3.13.0-39.66 amd64 Linux kernel extra modules for version 3.13.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP # ii linux-image-extra-3.13.0-40-gener 3.13.0-40.69 amd64 Linux kernel extra modules for version 3.13.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP # ii linux-image-generic 18.104.22.168.47 amd64 Generic Linux kernel image
Alright, let’s remove some of these packages. Remember, you can remove any package that is is
NOT associated with the kernel release outputted by
sudo apt-get purge \ linux-image-3.13.0-XX-generic \ linux-image-3.13.0-YY-generic \ linux-image-3.13.0-ZZ-generic \ linux-headers...\ linux-tools...
Step 3 – On With Your Life
After removing a couple unneeded packages, you should be able to open up the Software Updater and try again.
So how can you prevent this from happening again? You can either delete more packages from the
commands ran above, increase the size of your
/boot partition (extremely scary), or be lazy
like me and repeat this process when needed.
I’ve made a mental note to allocate more space for
/boot next time I reinstall my computer but
doubt I’ll remember when the time comes.