no space, i feel like a moron

Asked by lisa bowman on 2010-04-25

ok i am getting the error that i need more space and to use sudo apt-get clean, but i have no idea how to find that! i have done searches but it seems i am missing something, it says go to applications then accessories, the only thing i have on the app menu is places, system, and the quit menu. no idea what i am doing as you can tell, we got this computer for the kids to go online but now we are lost

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Ian Ace (iaculallad) said : #1

Ok, try using the shortcut instead: Press ALT+F2 keys, a window will popup and input "gnome-terminal" (without the double quote) and press Enter key.
The GNOME terminal will appear and here you will input the command "sudo apt-get clean" (without the double quote, again) to clear your apt cache files.


can you run:

uname -a; dpkg -l | grep linux-image

we can recoup ~120Mb per kernel as you only need one. You can also (when you get a little space) install and run bleachbit. run it as your user and root (watch he browser options and also avoid the options which say they will take a long time). This can clear a LOT of space down.

You can also install deborphan and run:

sudo apt-get --purge remove `deborphan`; sudo apt-get --purge remove `deborphan`; sudo apt-get --purge remove `deborphan`

Yes 3 times, it can remove orphaned packages which you no longer need. You should also remove programs you never use like gimp or xsane if you don't scan or use gimp as well as the rdp clients and vnc server / client if you don't use them. If your system has no CD burner and you don't use a USB writer you can uninstall the cd burning software, it all adds up. If you ONLY use writer in openoffice then remove ALL of openoffice (550Mb installed) and install abiword (12Mb installed) and you will get a lot of space back

Then the usual stuff like clearing internet cache and emptying trash for all users is good too.

Should get you a killer amount of space but the kernel removal will see the biggest improvement. I await your response

Ubuntu is drastically bloated but if you trim it down it can be a little fighter.

Tom (tom6) said : #3

Hi :)

Obviously empty the wastebin & empty the wastebin on any emailer you use.

Did you get this machine 2nd hand from someone that used it quite a bit or is it a new install on a new machine?
Regards from
Tom :)

You can find out what is using up your disk space using 'Disk Usage Analyser' which may be already installed by default.

If so, you can launch it from the Program menu => Accessories => Disk Usage Analyser. If not, then you can install it using Synaptic package manager once you have just a bit of space, and it should appear in your Program Menu.

When it has launched, you should be able to choose Analyser => Scan Home Folder from the menu. After it has run (this takes a while if you have a lot of stuff), it will then provide you with a graphical view of what you may have added to your hard drive and which is using up all your disk space.

You may find that you've copied all your music, videos or photos from somewhere, and just filled up all your disk space with lots of files, or a few big ones. Assuming you have a copy of this data backed up somewhere, removing them will free up disk space.

If you can't see any big files or folders in your own home directory, then you can run Analyser => Scan Filesystem. This will scan all the filesystem, including others' home folders and programs installed (especially if the kids have separate accounts, there's a good chance they have put all their music on the system and filled the hard drive that way).

The reason I suggest this second, is that deleting programs from your system, or other people's data is a much trickier business. Programs should be removed only by launching the Synaptic Package manager and identifying big programs to remove (e.g. OpenOffice or GIMP as actionparsnip suggests). You can reinstall these again later using Synaptic, once you've sorted out your disk space problems. Other people's data should only be removed once you've checked with them that they have a backup.

Tom (tom6) said : #5

Hi again :)

So when you click on "Applications" there is nothing in the menu?

During boot-up do you get a menu offering several different ways of booting into Ubuntu/Xubuntu? Does one of the options have "recovery mode" near the end of it's line? Choosing that option should get you to a disturbingly blue screen but with a useful menu hopefully including "Clear some space". The top option is "resume normal boot" so you can continue.

Good luck and regards from
Tom :)

lisa bowman (lisab26) said : #6

LOL Tom you totally made me laugh, i'm not quite that much of a moron i did empty the bin :-) ok going to try the other suggestions now thank you all for the input will post in a bit to let you all know how it goes

Tom (tom6) said : #7

Hi :)

The reboot one is the fastest way to clear a lot of junk space & at worst usually clears just enough to let solve quirky problems such as bad menus and stuff.

You would be amazed at the numbers of people that wouldn't have considered checking the wastebin & no-one had mentioned it earlier! lol
Regards from
Tom :)

"Then the usual stuff like clearing internet cache and emptying trash for all users is good too."

I did

Tom (tom6) said : #9

Hi :)

If this machine is a 2nd hand one that has been used a lot then it might be worth considering setting up a new user, make sure your have all the right permissions set-up exactly the same as the main current user and then just delete the current user to get rid of all downloads and anything quirky. It will need some space to set that up tho & it's a faff.

I would be reluctant to uninstall programs such as OpenOffice. I know that AbiWord is good but OpenOffice is better & better integrates the variety of other office packages it includes. AbiWord can't be set to default to writing really unsafe formats that MicroSquish Office users rely on, such as ".doc" and ".xls". So although you can open and save documents from Windows users you have to keep remembering to use "Save As ..." which is fine for 1 or 2 documents but really bad for school-work or office work and somehow seems worse when you are starting a fresh new document yourself.

However it's all free so uninstall it, sort system better, then reinstall it and there's no trouble :))

Regards from
Tom :)

PS i have worked as "IT Manager" (really just a bit of User Support and doing "the Fonze" on printers) and have found that it is almost impossible to underestimate the stupidity of the "average" user.

lisa bowman (lisab26) said : #10

Thanks again Tom, i do understand it just made me laugh!

So here are the results, besides I am still a huge moron, windows and all its stupidness i can figure out but for some reason this Ubuntu has me pulling my hair out.

Action I have done most of what you said but it seems i have no idea how to download and install things, well I was able to download bleachbit and i installed the package now i have no idea how to find it to run it :-) i have found it in

System:Administration:Synaptic Package Manager

and I can reinstall it and delete it from there but not run it. where the heck do i find programs on this thing?

People have suggesed I go to Applications:Accessories

but seriously i have no applications list/menu or whatever you want to call it, so i have tried to add them to that bar in the middle of my screen with games:learn:web etc.. but i can't seem to get a list of programs on the computer. No idea where to go........

I was able to get the terminal up with the alt f2 so i have been able to do the sudo apt-get clean, and that helped and I deleted Open office as we only use this thing for going online and have no need for a word processing program. So now i do have some available space again.

In my upper right hand corner of my screen I have a house, a round circle and a ?, so the circle is the menu, in that menu the only things there are to click are Places: which has home folder, desktop etc.... System: which has preferences, administration and info on gnome, fluendo, and ubunto......and the Quit menu

So any other suggestions?


lisa bowman (lisab26) said : #11

acutally its the upper left hand corner

Bleachbit is in the menus under admin -> system tools (flick around your menu and you will find it). You can also press alt+f2 and type:


When you have used it as user, press alt+f2 and type:

gksudo bleachbit

Make sure you CLOSE as many apps as you can as open apps will lock the temp data they use (close evolution and firefox especially).

Can you launch a terminal and paste the below command:

dpkg -l | grep linux-image

Then copy the output and paste here. We can then remove the old kernels you never use.

lisa bowman (lisab26) said : #13

ok i have deleted all cache and stuff with bleachbit that was vey handy! still no idea where to find a menu of applications but i accessed it throught alt f2 so that works here is the out put you asked for:

family@family:~$ dpkg -l | grep linux-image
ii linux-image-2.6.24-19-lpia 2.6.24-19.41netbook13 Linux kernel image for version 2.6.24 on Ubu
ii linux-image-2.6.24-22-lpia 2.6.24-22.45netbook10 Linux kernel image for version 2.6.24 on Ubu
ii linux-image-2.6.24-24-lpia 2.6.24-24.51netbook14 Linux kernel image for version 2.6.24 on Ubu
ii linux-image-lpia Generic Linux kernel image for LPIA

and the output of:

uname -a


lisa bowman (lisab26) said : #15

family@family:~$ uname -a
Linux family 2.6.24-24-lpia #1 SMP Wed May 6 17:43:36 UTC 2009 i686 GNU/Linux

excellent ok the last update you did is the current kernel, you currently have 3 kernels installed so we can remove 2 and get 240Mb in space :)

this will fix you up nice:

sudo apt-get --purge remove linux-image-2.6.24-19-lpia linux-image-2.6.24-22-lpia; sudo apt-get --purge autoremove; sudo apt-get clean


df -h

Should tell a much better story :D

Tom (tom6) said : #17

hi :)

Since you are stuck with only being able to use the command-line until someone shows how to set-up a decent replacement new user so that you can delete the current one i thought this guide might be late but helpful?

I find the command-line quite tricky, especially for making a new user & checking all the permissions & groups are set up exactly the same as the existing user.
Good luck with this!
Regards from
Tom :)

lisa bowman (lisab26) said : #18

Action that worked great! lots more room now :-) Thanks for all your help!

Tom I'm going to do the new user thingy next, but i have to head for work now, so will post later how it went! Thanks again!

nice now get bleachbit going and you should have a tonne more space, remember to strip out unwanted apps :)

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