I'm out of space on /var

  25G   25G     0 100% /var

It looks like mlocate.db is the problem:

# find /var -printf '%s %p\n' | sort -nr | head
13140140032 ./lib/mlocate/mlocate.db.cgLMAM
12409839616 ./lib/mlocate/mlocate.db.MqGeqe

# cat /etc/updatedb.conf
PRUNENAMES=".git .bzr .hg .svn"
PRUNEPATHS="/tmp /var/spool /media"
PRUNEFS="NFS nfs nfs4 rpc_pipefs afs binfmt_misc proc smbfs autofs iso9660 ncpfs coda devpts ftpfs devfs mfs shfs sysfs cifs lustre_lite tmpfs usbfs udf"

I don't see anything else to prune. So how can I fix this? Thanks

  • WOW! that is more than 10GB each!
    – rubo77
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 12:49

2 Answers 2


The /var/lib/mlocate/mlocate.db.?????? files are leftover temporary files from a (probably) interrupted updatedb run. They don't appear on either of my Ubuntu 11.10 systems, except when updatedb is running. Delete them:

sudo rm -f /var/lib/mlocate/mlocate.db.??????

then, to be sure, run

sudo /etc/cron.daily/mlocate
  • thank you. i was debating whether or not to delete the 900+MB file mlocate.db.pm5NNC that was time stamped dec 2015. with your answer i took the plunge! Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 15:57
  • clearly my nearly 1GB file was a little one and i've got off lightly: ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1487312 Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 16:01

You can re-install it too:

apt remove --purge mlocate \
&& apt install mlocate

It will delete and recreate your /var/lib/mlocate database file.

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