Freeing up space on Hard Disk/Partitioning

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Freeing up space on Hard Disk/Partitioning

Postby TheWizardofOdds » Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:05 pm

I dual-boot Ubuntu 11.10 and Windows XP Pro on my PC.

When I used XP last night to upload some music I was warned of low disk space. I have 166MB free. This seems shockingly low when I have next to nothing on Windows just the minimum programs plus iTunes.

When I accessed Computer on Ubuntu it says 360 GB Hard Disk, 12GB File system. When I upgrade the Ubuntu distro every six months I notice that the previous distro is still on the boot menu. Is this making the Hard Disk space less and less each time by partitioning? I don't need or use the 'old' distros.

I would like to partition the Disk with only the current distro and XP. I am very nervous about doing so as I had such a drama installing XP. How would I go about this? Is it possible to delete the other distros on the boot menu or do I have to reinstall Ubuntu 11.10 in order to free up the space for Windows?
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Postby johnhudson » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:45 pm

The Windows notification only applies to the Windows partition because Windows thinks that is all you have.

The problem is Windows updates which gradually fill up the partition - I started with XP using around 4Gb and now it uses 9Gb - I haven't added anything in the last five years other than the updates.

Assuming you have cleaned and defragged the partition, see if there are any files or programs you never use which you can get rid of.

BTW the problem arises because Windows has no swap and is looking for somewhere on the hard disk to use for its equivalent of swap.
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Postby TheWizardofOdds » Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:26 pm

johnhudson wrote:The Windows notification only applies to the Windows partition because Windows thinks that is all you have.

The problem is Windows updates which gradually fill up the partition - I started with XP using around 4Gb and now it uses 9Gb - I haven't added anything in the last five years other than the updates.

Assuming you have cleaned and defragged the partition, see if there are any files or programs you never use which you can get rid of.

BTW the problem arises because Windows has no swap and is looking for somewhere on the hard disk to use for its equivalent of swap.


I have deleted everything I can and defragged also.

Do I re-partition and reinstall Ubuntu and try to partition the disk 50/50 ?
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Postby nelz » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:12 pm

If you are upgrading, rather than reinstalling, you only have one distro. However, you will have several kernels, which is what you see in the boot menu. You can uninstall the older ones in Synaptic or the Software Centre.

To see where all the space is being used, run

Code: Select all
df -Th
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Postby TheWizardofOdds » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:48 pm

nelz wrote:If you are upgrading, rather than reinstalling, you only have one distro. However, you will have several kernels, which is what you see in the boot menu. You can uninstall the older ones in Synaptic or the Software Centre.

To see where all the space is being used, run

Code: Select all
df -Th


How can I uninstall the older ones via Synaptic/Software centre?

I've got 12.04 LTS Ubuntu and would like to partition with XP, that's already on the hard drive.

I would like to start over again and partition 50/50 XP and 12.04. Can I do this when I install 12.04? I have no room on XP at all yet I have loads of space on the hard drive.

All this so I can use iTunes :roll:
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Postby Dutch_Master » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:57 am

Fire up Gparted in Linux and adjust your Linux partition. Then with the same program, increase the XP partition, or mark it for NTFS, so XP picks it up next time you boot into it. Commit the changes and have Gparted do its magic :) It'll report back when it's done.
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Postby Paradigm Shifter » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:04 pm

I'd be more concerned over exactly where the space is going rather than 'fixing' it by giving it more with changing partition sizes. My first question would be what else do you have on that Windows partition? Space doesn't just vanish into the ether - something is filling it up... and as lousy as Windows updates can be, if you've given XP a reasonable amount of breathing room on its partition (15-20GB) Windows Updates shouldn't have chewed it all up.

How big is that Windows partition?

Have you got lots and lots of iTunes music on it? ALAC in particular will chew HDD space like it was going out of fashion. This is my main suspect in terms of HDD space vanishing... ;)

Have you put any more RAM in the system? If you've got the Hibernation and Page files active and Page file is set to size control by Windows (the default) then putting more RAM in will make the Hibernate and Page files jump in size...

Are there any large .log or temp files hiding anywhere?

Do you have System Restore set to a large percentage of the partition?

Are there lots of "$ folders" in the \Windows\ directory? (They'll be hidden and compressed with NTFS compression - they're often left behind when Windows updates essential system files, as they're the cache from the install and the old version in case you want to uninstall the Windows Update... but if you aren't going to uninstall the Update, they're just chewing space)

May also be worth downloading something like CCleaner and giving it a run to see what it finds; it's usually pretty good at finding temporary files hiding in daft places. :)
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Postby MartyBartfast » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:49 pm

Paradigm Shifter wrote:May also be worth downloading something like CCleaner and giving it a run to see what it finds; it's usually pretty good at finding temporary files hiding in daft places. :)


I was also going to suggest installing CCleaner on the XP OS, I've found it pretty good at cleaning up lots of stuff.
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Postby catgate » Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:58 pm

There used to be a jolly good free programme for finding and removing all unwanted/unneeded .dll files in the days that I used to use Windows (98SE). The profligate way that M$ wastes you HDD space by not cleaning up after itself was one of my reasons for waving two finger at BG and changing to linux.
I am afraid I can not remember it's name but surely the freeware world must be awash with them.
Oh, sod it.
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Postby JohnParr » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:29 pm

Restore points use up a lot of space. If you have never deleted any they may well be the problem. This link will tell you how.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555367
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Postby guy » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:09 am

TheWizardofOdds wrote:How can I uninstall the older ones via Synaptic/Software centre?

I'd appreciate an answer to that as well.

I desperately need to free up space occupied by old kernels - and other packages - too, but can find nothing in either GUI that so much as hints at this capability.

I recall seeing a magic command spell that can do this, but man synaptic pretty much just says to use the GTK+ recipes, which I cannot find.

[update] Found this: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1587462
Just scroll down a bit
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Postby Dutch_Master » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:01 pm

Start Synaptic the usual way, then search for "linux" or "linuz". Mark all but the latest kernel version for purging, confirm your selection and have it do its job. Then search the menu for the option to clear the package cache, confirm again. If you regularly try out software, repeat the cache clearing on a monthly basis (or more frequent if you'd installed/removed a lot).
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Postby Rhakios » Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:10 pm

Oddly (perhaps), I have found that when upgrading *Ubuntu releases, old kernels can be left in boot, but because they are not part of the new system's package list, they are not shown in Synaptic.
In just such a case, I have deleted all the relevant files for the old kernels from /boot (there's usually initrd, System.map, abi and config files as well as vmlinuz), then run sudo update-grub.
But, as mentioned above, Synaptic should be the first port of call for deleting old kernels.
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