Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have installed ubuntu on a 8GB 5GB partition. As I have installed many packages, I am running out of space.

Qn 1 : Is there a way that I can specify another portion for installing the packages ?

Qn 2 : Can I move the whole installed files from my current partition to another place ( partition ) and make the changes in grub or so?

I don't want to reinstall the whole, so after that I just can make an upgrade :-)

The / , and home directory is in same place.

Thank you .

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

A1: no, it's not possible. The paths are fixed.

A2: if you want to move files to another partition, you'll need to use a Live CD. Please consider resizing partitions first which is much easier and less error-prone. This is only possible if you've enough space on one disk. Consider moving your /home folder as described here too, 8GB should be enough for / in most cases. If you want to use a second disk as root partition or wish to create a new partition on the current disk, please continue.

  1. Make a backup (preferably with disk-cloning software like Clonezilla).
  2. Boot into the Live CD, do not mount anything
  3. Create a new partition using the Disk Utility or GParted. This partition must support Linux file permissions. Such a filesystem is ext4. Label it "UbuntuRoot" so you can find the partition easier, otherwise you'll have to remember the partition name (e.g. /dev/sdb1)
  4. Open a terminal and run sudo blkid to get the UUID for your newly created partition. Example output, you'll need the last line:

    /dev/sda1: LABEL="HDD" UUID="AD078BC9C024FCDD" TYPE="ntfs"
    /dev/sda2: LABEL="DATA" UUID="FDE43758913E70EE" TYPE="ntfs"
    /dev/sda3: UUID="a88638ae-3cd3-45c0-ad06-2d56d89b19a0" TYPE="swap"
    /dev/sda4: UUID="e3f848cb-5a05-4d2d-92e0-3eaf7b27338c" TYPE="ext4"
    /dev/sdb1: LABEL="UbuntuRoot" UUID="1cdfadcf-0969-48ba-96a5-42557c23f8e9" TYPE="ext4"
  5. Mount your old root partition (/dev/sdb1 is your newly created partition, /dev/sda4 was your old partition):

    sudo mkdir /media/old
    sudo mount /dev/sda4 /media/old
    sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt
  6. Copy over the files (this may take a while):

    sudo cp -prvT /media/old /mnt
  7. Update /mnt/etc/fstab with the new UUID. Pick an editor at your choice:

    sudo nano /mnt/etc/fstab
    gksu gedit /mnt/etc/fstab

    Find the line that looks like and replace the UUID of /dev/sda4 with the /dev/sdb1's UUID:

    # / was on /dev/sda4 during installation
    UUID=e3f848cb-5a05-4d2d-92e0-3eaf7b27338c /               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1
  8. Save /mnt/etc/fstab and exit the editor. Next, GRUB needs to be updated to boot from the new disk and partition.

    sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sdb
  9. Unmount the partitions to finish it:

    sudo umount /mnt /media/old
  10. Reboot to check the result.
share|improve this answer
Thank You for your quick reply on it. I will try and write the experience :-) – Hari K T Jul 23 '11 at 16:44
It was 5 GB only, not 8 GB. – Hari K T Aug 14 '11 at 3:43
5GB is a bit low but will suffice if you're cleaning files regularly (sudo apt-get clean to clear your APT caches, browser cache). I've a fresh development installation here using only 3G including a /home of 200MB. – Lekensteyn Aug 14 '11 at 8:37
Sorry man , I went into trouble . Not sure how I lost my bootloader . And it was coming in the grub-rescue> terminal ( Before I tried your steps). But I went with the USB and tried your steps hoping the bootloader will install it. But all the error came when I tried to install the bootloader . I tried different ways . In yours it says root, but in the help I see boot , so to conclude these were the errors . But I had a fresh install on another partition . So now I have 2 Ubuntu :) . Anyway as the data is safe I am happy with it. – Hari K T Aug 14 '11 at 13:36
Read the manual if you're not sure what an option is used for. --boot-directory sets the location in which GRUB's files are placed. By default, this is /boot/grub (/mnt/boot/grub). I assume /dev/sda11 is your target partition? Otherwise, could you post the output of sudo fdisk -l and sudo blkid? – Lekensteyn Aug 14 '11 at 13:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.