I recently created a RAM /tmp by adding this to /etc/fstab:

tmpfs /tmp tmpfs rw,nosuid,nodev,noatime   0    0

Everything works fine, and in theory the system runs faster now, but at boot time /var/log/syslog gets:

… tmp.mount: Directory /tmp to mount over is not empty, mounting anyway.

This situation seems inevitable, as there is never an opportunity to remove files from the filesystem version of /tmp.

The wasted space is trivial, but as a matter of interest, is there any easy way to clean out the junk hidden under the /tmp mountpoint?

mkdir /mnt/root
mount --bind / /mnt/root

This will mount your root partition in /mnt/root. Current mountpoints are not affected, so when looking in /mnt/root, you will see the original directory contents.

  • 2
    Perfect. That did it. – Ray Butterworth Jul 28 at 3:35
  • @Nuclear To make your answer more complete and more accessible to all audience, I suggest you edit your answer and add steps with instructions like: 1. Create a new mount point at /mnt/root 2. Mount your root system with original /tmp to /mnt/root 3. Access your original /tmp directory at /mnt/root/tmp 4. To delete all content in your original /tmp, please run rm -r /mnt/root/tmp/* . Voted one up for your answer. – Raffa Jul 30 at 3:16

The 'easy' way is to boot from a Live USB/CD. Then, your mount won't have happened.


To solve this:

  1. Please, edit your /etc/fstab file. Type in the terminal:

    sudo nano /etc/fstab

  2. Comment out the line below like so:

    # tmpfs /tmp tmpfs rw,nosuid,nodev,noatime 0 0

  3. Save the file, exit and reboot your system.

  4. After system reboot, edit your /etc/fstab file again and un-comment the line below like so:

    tmpfs /tmp tmpfs rw,nosuid,nodev,noatime 0 0

  5. Save the file and exit.

  6. Clear the /tmp directory by typing the command below in terminal:

    sudo rm -r /tmp/*

  7. Reboot your system.

Please, avoid running any applications other than the terminal during this process to avoid writing new files to the /tmp directory.

See if the log entry disappears now.

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