i install ubuntu and followed a guide to put 20gb in '/' and the rest (150gb) in '/home'. Now i just found out that a lot of the things installed in ubuntu usually goes to '/' instead of '/home'. I have a lot more things to install.

So what is the point of '/home' ? How do I fix this ? Should I transfer 150gb from '/home' to / ?

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
udev            7.8G     0  7.8G   0% /dev
tmpfs           1.6G  9.5M  1.6G   1% /run
/dev/sda6        19G   16G  1.8G  91% /
tmpfs           7.8G  676K  7.8G   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs           5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
tmpfs           7.8G     0  7.8G   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/sda2        96M   29M   68M  31% /boot/efi
/dev/sda8       159G  1.1G  150G   1% /home
tmpfs           1.6G   56K  1.6G   1% /run/user/1000

what is /boot ? Its not '/' or '/home'

  • The question should be "what is the point of a separate /" (answered by Rinzwind below!). To avoid the issues you have now a default (and recommended) installation of Ubuntu would not create a separate root partition.
    – Takkat
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 7:46
  • In Windows analogy: C: is full. D: is not full. "So what is the point of '/home' ?" To store personal data. And you really need to examine your system. I have a very hard time getting my root (/) above 10 Gb even with a small database on my system.
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 7:46
  • Try to check whats in /var .. especially /var/log. There might be some error filling up one of the logs.
    – Soren A
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 8:00
  • What is personal data ? If all the applications are installed to '/' then how is it possible to have the usage remain below 20gb ? I mean, there are hard disks with 1TB of space. Is '/' in ubuntu equivalent to the C drive in windows ? Or is '/home' == C drive ?
    – Kong
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 8:09
  • Related: askubuntu.com/questions/951170/…
    – Melebius
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


/home contains user data by default. It allows easy upgrade/change/re-install of the OS (ubuntu *; even changing to another, say openSUSE, Debian, ...) without causing wipe of your user data if a re-install is done.

You don't need a separate /home, but nearly everyone who didn't have it will eventually want it. The 20GB / guide makes a huge assumption on what you'll load & use the system for; and for most 16gb is heaps, but I on [rare] occasion find 32GB small. Adjust default/guides according to your intended use & software-needs.

Anyway, you can re-adjust partitions sizes (gparted but best done with live-media so the partition is NOT in use), or even move specific directories to store data on /home by /etc/fstab filesystem hacks etc.

What is best for you will depend upon your usage. (What's making you hit the 20GB wall?)

  • hi thanks ! I installed MATLAB, PyCharm and docker with an image that is ~18GB. How can I get Ubuntu to install to home instead of '/' ? In Windows everything is installed to the C drive. Is C drive equivalent to '/home' ?
    – Kong
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 8:05
  • I don't know your applications so I'm best not commenting on them. Ubuntu installs in many directories; eg. /bin for binaries; /sbin for system.binaries, /usr/ for user software, fonts etc... you can't install "ubuntu" into /home as it needs to be elsewhere; what I meant was you can make say /usr/ install in /home/usr/ using fstab (file system table) changes; but as I don't know your apps I don't know what is large. probably better would be the resizing option via ubuntu-install disk being booted; then re-sizing using gparted
    – guiverc
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 8:38
  • as for your C: & windoze question - nope. *nix is a flat filesystem which means its all in a single tree with "/" being the top; and you can mount anything anywhere in that filesystem; eg. a different partition is installed in "/home` on yours instead of using any "/home/" in your root directory (any files in that get hidden when your extra partition /home is loaded I assume by your fstab) this no doubt will be confusing; the key is its not a system that assumes floppy-disks with letters (from cp/m) as @rinzwind used in anology; /home is more like d: but technically like apples != frogs
    – guiverc
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 8:45
  • extra (obvious) thought: BACKUP before you use gparted to resize. i've never needed it; but i always assume i'll wish i did if didn't do it.
    – guiverc
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 10:36

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