Installed Ubuntu as a first-time user about two months ago. Has been working great until two weeks ago, when updates would no longer install due to not enough room on the boot disk.

I did the "sudo apt-get clean" thing, as well as empty the trash. No dice.

Then I checked this website and saw comments which said I needed to boot from my live usb, go to "try ubuntu without installing," and then use the program Gparted to increase size of boot partition.

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All went well until Gparted wouldn't let me resize anything. The partitions weren't locked with a key symbol, but the "resize" option was always grayed out. The partitions also had grayed-out "mount" on the right-click menu. So I assume they were already unmounted?

I'm running full-Ubuntu (no dual-boot) on a Dell laptop, if that helps.


  • you need to unmount the partitions before you can resize it
    – Ron
    May 31, 2015 at 18:57
  • 1
    possible duplicate of How to resize partitions?
    – Ron
    May 31, 2015 at 18:59
  • Boot with a live CD/USB and then try gparted from there. May 31, 2015 at 19:13
  • @Ron, how do I unmount them?
    – N00b
    May 31, 2015 at 19:30
  • 1
    Please add a screenshot of gparted to your post.
    – Pilot6
    May 31, 2015 at 19:37

2 Answers 2


You have an encrypted /dev/sda5 partition. I am not sure it is possible to shrink encrypted partitions in gparted.

But HERE IS information on resizing encrypted partitions.

You will need to shrink sda5 left, then shrink sda2 left. After that you will be able to extend your sda1 right.

You can just remove old kernels from your /boot partition THIS WAY

If you can't install synaptic try command line way

dpkg -l 'linux-*' | sed '/^ii/!d;/'"$(uname -r | sed "s/\(.*\)-\([^0-9]\+\)/\1/")"'/d;s/^[^ ]* [^ ]* \([^ ]*\).*/\1/;/[0-9]/!d'|grep -E "(image|headers)" | xargs sudo apt-get -y purge
  • Ah! Removing the old kernels via Synaptic did it, thank you! I'd tried to do that before, but thought they were all current (not taking into account the fourth number in the 00.00.00-00 format). And thanks for the insight and links into the encrypted drive issue. Cheers.
    – N00b
    May 31, 2015 at 21:49
  • if you have a bitcoin address, post it and I'll send you my thanks. :)
    – N00b
    May 31, 2015 at 21:50
  • Accepted! Can't upvote, because my reputation isn't high enough.
    – N00b
    Jun 3, 2015 at 22:01

By "boot disk," do you mean the main system (root or /) partition or the /boot partition? The former is your encrypted /dev/sda5 partition, but the latter is your unencrypted /dev/sda1 partition. (These identifications are assumptions based on sizes and how things are generally laid out in Ubuntu, but they're probably right.)

Your /boot partition is 243MiB in size with 69MiB of that space going unused. The /boot directory typically holds GRUB configuration files, Linux kernels, initial RAM disk (initrd) images, and a few other minor odds and ends. Your free 69MiB should be enough to hold a new kernel, but I've seen some other reports recently of people running into "insufficient disk space" messages when trying to upgrade with similar amounts of free space, so it could be your culprit. Try sudo apt-get autoremove to remove your old kernels. For future reference, distributions that routinely create separate /boot partitions generally make them on the order of 500MiB in size, so yours is a bit undersized by that standard. It should still be adequate, though, if managed properly.

Your encrypted (presumably root or /) partition is almost 149GiB in size. That's more than enough for Ubuntu and just about any software you might reasonably install, so if it is the source of the error message, that suggests that user data is to blame. In this context, "user data" is pretty broad, and includes not only whatever you've stored yourself but also log files (stored in /var/log), temporary files (in /tmp), and others, depending on how the computer is being used. See here and here for a couple of questions and answers about locating where your disk space is being used. You'll need to boot into your regular installation or mount your encrypted partition in an emergency system to perform these analyses.

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