I run Ubuntu 10.04 on an EEEPC with a 4GB fast SSD set as the / partition, and a 16GB slower SSD set as the /home partition. I keep running out of space on "/", and can no longer install the latest updates, or new apps.

How can I better manage the partitions to avoid this problem? Bear in mind that the large SSD is lower performance so I don't think I should use this for the OS. Is it possible to install apps to a different partition when using apt?

Any advice?

Thank you.


Here are some ways to reduce the space taken up by packages:

  • Remove your auto removable packages: go to System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager. Click the 'Status' button in the bottom left. Click the Installed (auto removable) filter. Click on one of the packages and press Ctrl-a to select them all. Next right click on one of the packages and click 'Mark for Removal'. Then click the Apply button in the toolbar. synaptic autoremove

  • Delete your cached packages: in Synaptic, click Settings->Preferences and click the 'Files' tab. Click the button that says 'Delete Cached Package Files'.synaptic preferences

  • Set it so that packages are deleted once installed: in Synaptic, click Settings->Preferences and click the 'Files' tab. Click the radio button that says 'Delete downloaded packages after installation'. synaptic preferences

You could create a bash script to automate these tasks:

apt-get autoremove
rm /var/cache/apt/archives/*.deb

This could be run with this command:

sudo ~/clean.sh

Diagnosing where the space has gone:

Go to Applications -> Accessories -> Disk Usage Analyser.

Click the 'scan filesystem' button:


This should give you a breakdown of what space is being used and where:


Separating parts of the filesystem to different drives/partitions:

It is possible to put parts of the filesystem (such as /var or /usr) onto a separate partition on a different drive. The process would be the same as separating yout /home partition, which you have already done.

These tutorials: http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/separatehome and http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/mountlinux should give you the necessary information for this.

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  • I would also like to recommend installing something like localepurge. ubuntu-tweak also has an excellent system cleaner (I'd avoid computer-janitor). Of course, there are also system cleaners like bleachbit and fslint. – aperson Sep 5 '10 at 12:13
  • This definitely helped, thanks very much. I also managed to clear a lot of space using ubuntu-tweak's package manager, a good tip! – zefer Sep 5 '10 at 13:15

First, follow dv3500ea's advice on removing cruft and analysing disk usage.

If you still don't have enough space on your system partition, move part of the system to the home partition. Don't create a new partition on the 16GB drive though, use the existing partition so you don't have to worry about choosing a size.

Pick one or more large part of the system for which you don't care about the speed difference. This must be a part of /usr or /var, as the rest might be needed during boot time before the /home partition becomes available. Move that part to the /home partition, and create a symbolic link on the system partition. For example, /usr/share/doc looks like a good candidate, so run the following commands:

sudo mv /usr/share/doc /home/usr-share-doc
sudo ln -s /home/usr-share-doc /usr/share/doc
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  • This is just the sort of thing I was looking for. I managed to clear a lot of space using dv3500ea and aperson's advice above, so I may not have to go down this route but this will be my next move, thank you. – zefer Sep 5 '10 at 13:20

On my old EEE701 with 4Gb, I found that Synaptic keeps all old deb files after downloading them in /var/cache/apt/archives. If you set this to clear out after download, you might find that 4Gb is enough on its own.

In Synaptic, go to settings/preferences, choose the Files tab and select the middle option :

alt text

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  • Got it. I normally use the apt-get in the terminal to install and I often run apt-get clean too, I think this does the same, but now I'm definitely covered! Thanks. – zefer Sep 5 '10 at 13:21

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