I have removed several deprecated 3.16 kernels, however one is still showing up in GRUB and Ubuntu is booting using that kernel. When I run dpkg -l | grep linux-image-3.16.0-51-generic the image is not listed. When I run sudo update-grub it finds the Kernel in /boot and adds it to the list of Kernels to run.

Can I just delete this file? How do I remove this kernel, so that Ubuntu runs under 3.13?

ls /boot screenshot:

ls /boot

dpkg -l | grep screeshot:

dpkg -l

  • 1
    Use the command dpkg -S /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-51-generic instead. – jdwolf Jan 11 '18 at 15:08
  • Here's the output: dpkg-query: no path found matching pattern /boot/vmlinuz-3.16.0-51-generic – Ben Payne Jan 11 '18 at 15:26
  • Use the GRUB menu to boot into a 3.13 kernel before trying to remove the last 3.16 kernel. – user535733 Jan 11 '18 at 16:22
  • Thanks. I've done that already several times. When I attempt to delete the image it errors out with 'Unable to locate package <header>'. – Ben Payne Jan 11 '18 at 17:28

Remove them with sudo purge-old-kernels (from byobu package), not but hand.
And execute sudo apt-get autoremove afterwards for removing obsolete packages (headers and images).

FIY, you can save this script anywhere and run as root:

$ cat `which purge-old-kernels`

#    purge-old-kernels - remove old kernel packages
#    Copyright (C) 2012 Dustin Kirkland <kirkland@ubuntu.com>
#    Authors: Dustin Kirkland <kirkland@ubuntu.com>
#             Kees Cook <kees@ubuntu.com>
#    This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
#    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
#    the Free Software Foundation, version 3 of the License.
#    This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
#    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
#    GNU General Public License for more details.
#    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
#    along with this program.  If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.

# Ensure we're running as root
if [ "$(id -u)" != 0 ]; then
    echo "ERROR: This script must run as root.  Hint..." 1>&2
    echo "  sudo $0 $@" 1>&2
    exit 1

# NOTE: This script will ALWAYS keep the currently running kernel
# NOTE: Default is to keep 2 more, user overrides with --keep N
# NOTE: Any unrecognized option will be passed straight through to apt
while [ ! -z "$1" ]; do
    case "$1" in
            # User specified the number of kernels to keep
            shift 2
            APT_OPTS="$APT_OPTS $1"
            shift 1

# Build our list of kernel packages to purge
CANDIDATES=$(ls -tr /boot/vmlinuz-* | head -n -${KEEP} | grep -v "$(uname -r)$" | cut -d- -f2- | awk '{print "linux-image-" $0 " linux-headers-" $0}' )
for c in $CANDIDATES; do
    dpkg-query -s "$c" >/dev/null 2>&1 && PURGE="$PURGE $c"

if [ -z "$PURGE" ]; then
    echo "No kernels are eligible for removal"
    exit 0

apt $APT_OPTS remove --purge $PURGE
| improve this answer | |
  • Tried..didn't realize it required another package that I don't have. When I ran the command 'sudo purge-old-kernels' I get 'command not found'. Is there another way to do this? – Ben Payne Jan 12 '18 at 3:10
  • It seems that you are not familiar with apt-get. You should install byobu package with sudo apt-get install byobu. – N0rbert Jan 12 '18 at 9:01
  • I should have clarified. I don't want to install an additional package just to handle this one instance. There should be a way to clear this out without needing an additional package. – Ben Payne Jan 12 '18 at 14:35
  • OK, you can save contents of this script to location where you want and use it from here. – N0rbert Jan 12 '18 at 17:35

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