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Ubuntu – Clearing up the /boot volume

For years Ubuntu has had the ability to automatically patch the system via crontab, however as kernel updates are applied old revisions are never purged (in the event there is an issue). However, if you have a smaller drive for your install say as a Virtual Machine the /boot volume can be sized pretty small. Eventually you’ll start to see upon login a message warning you the partition is over 80% full, in this case we need to go back and purge some old kernels.

Lets check to see how bad it currently is?

df -h /boot
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1       228M   190M  38M  83% /boot

So lets obtain our currently running build information

sudo uname -r

Now, lets take a look at what is currently installed.

sudo dpkg -l linux-image-\* | grep ^ii

Which returned for me returned

ii  linux-image-3.5.0-23-generic           3.5.0-23.35   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-3.5.0-36-generic           3.5.0-36.57   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-3.5.0-37-generic           3.5.0-37.58   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-3.5.0-39-generic           3.5.0-39.60   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-3.5.0-40-generic           3.5.0-40.62   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-3.5.0-44-generic           3.5.0-44.67   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP
ii  linux-image-3.5.0-45-generic           3.5.0-45.68   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP
ii  linux-image-3.5.0-46-generic           3.5.0-46.70   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP
ii  linux-image-3.5.0-47-generic           3.5.0-47.71   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP
ii  linux-image-extra-3.5.0-23-generic     3.5.0-23.35   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-extra-3.5.0-36-generic     3.5.0-36.57   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-extra-3.5.0-37-generic     3.5.0-37.58   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-extra-3.5.0-39-generic     3.5.0-39.60   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-extra-3.5.0-40-generic     3.5.0-40.62   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP  
ii  linux-image-extra-3.5.0-44-generic     3.5.0-44.67   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP
ii  linux-image-extra-3.5.0-45-generic     3.5.0-45.68   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP
ii  linux-image-extra-3.5.0-46-generic     3.5.0-46.70   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP
ii  linux-image-extra-3.5.0-47-generic     3.5.0-47.71   amd64     Linux kernel image for version 3.5.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP
ii  linux-image-generic                    3.5.0.47.63   amd64     Generic Linux kernel image

At this point everything has been stable for a few weeks, so I will purge anything below 3.5.0-47.

sudo apt-get purge linux-image linux-image-3.5.0-23 linux-image-3.5.0-36 linux-image-3.5.0-37 linux-image-3.5.0-39 linux-image-3.5.0-40 linux-image-3.5.0-44 linux-image-3.5.0-45 linux-image-3.5.0-46

After everything was removed, lets check again to see where we sit.

df -h /boot
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1       228M   29M  188M  14% /boot

In the end we ended up clearing up 69% of the /boot partition.

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March 21, 2014 at 8:24 am
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