I have a 200GB HD and have just installed Linux Mint (12 - KDE) as the only OS (I formatted and wiped my previous Windows 7 installation). I am in the process of installing my "sandbox" and because I'm new to Linux am installing all of the stuff that can't be found with package managers under my /home/<username> directory, stuff like:

  • Jenkins CI
  • Artifactory
  • Eclipse and all of its plugins
  • AppDynamics Lite
  • WebCastellum

And others. While trying to install an Eclipse plugin (Google's GAE/GWT plugin) I got a notification that I was about to run out of space under my /home directory, and sure enough, the Eclipse plugin failed to finish installing because it ran out of available disk space.

When I run df from the terminal I get this output:

Filesystem     1K-blocks     Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5       13783792 12133900    958336  93% /
udev             4016004        4   4016000   1% /dev
tmpfs            1611136     1056   1610080   1% /run
none                5120        0      5120   0% /run/lock
none             4027832       84   4027748   1% /run/shm

Again, new to Linux, so this doesn't mean much to me, but it looks like I am currently using up 93% of my disk (which I assume is /dev/sda5)?

That's crazy!?! This is 200GB and all I've done is install a few relatively-tiny apps. I don't even think I have any media (photos, videos, etc.) on this machine yet! I literally installed the OS and started setting up my sandbox!

A few things:

  • Am I reading this df output correctly?
  • Do I need to "mount" or do something special with my /home directory that I failed to do?
  • Is it common to get this out-of-disk-space error under /home if you're an inexperienced Linux user (and did not do any mounting or other Linux magic as prescribed above)?
  • How could I possibly be at 93%?!?! Could I have a virus?!?

Thanks in advance for any help here!

Edit: although it currently reads 93% now, last night (which is when I got these errors) it was at 99%.

Output from lsblk:

sda      8:0    0 232.9G  0 disk 
├─sda1   8:1    0 211.8G  0 part 
├─sda2   8:2    0     1K  0 part 
├─sda5   8:5    0  13.2G  0 part /
└─sda6   8:6    0   7.9G  0 part [SWAP]
sr0     11:0    1  1024M  0 rom  
sdb      8:16   1   1.9G  0 disk 
└─sdb1   8:17   1   1.9G  0 part /media/PKBACK# 001
sr1     11:1    1     7M  0 rom  

2 Answers 2


The output of df -h ("human-readable sizes") might be a little clearer than plain df.

In fact, it would probably show that the size of / is only about 13 GB – I'm guessing you created a second ~190 GB partition for /home but forgot to actually have it mounted, so all files are being stored on the first (/) partition.

You can use lsblk or partitioning tools such as parted/gparted to list all existing partitions and their sizes.

Check if the partition for /home is listed by lsblk or in your /etc/fstab, then try to mount it. But for now, mount it somewhere else than /home, though – for example, /mnt – to make transferring the files easier.

Your update shows a large partition at /dev/sda1. You can mount it temporarily on /mnt:

# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt

If the command succeeds, it will return quietly. If it complains about "unknown fstype", it might be that the partition does not have any file system yet – mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1 would format it as ext4, the most common one.

To move your files over, log out from your account, then log in as root, and use rsync -avP /home/ /mnt/ to transfer data. Afterwards, delete it from old /home manually.

To make the partition permanenly mounted on /home, add the following to fstab:

/dev/sda1  /home  ext4  rw,relatime,acl  0  2

Having / and /home separate makes it much easier to reinstall Linux (e.g. if you ever want to switch distributions). But if you want to merge them, you can do that with gparted – however, only from a live CD, not from the same system.

Inside GParted, simply delete the large empty partition, and resize the existing 13 GB one. Be aware that you might need to reinstall your bootloader (GRUB or whatever) after doing so.

  • Thanks @grawity - if I did this then it was certainly not by intention! I just used all the defaults that the Mint installer offered me because this was my very first Mint install and the only other experience I've had was with Ubuntu. Question: does gparted simply give me more space or does it wipe the 13 - 14 GB I have in addition to giving me space? I'd like to try it out but would have to blow out all the installs I've done so far. Thanks again!
    – pnongrata
    Aug 31, 2012 at 13:18
  • @zharvey: I don't know what actual partitions you have, and what exactly are you telling gparted to do, when you are saying "give more space". Are you using it to create a new partition, or resize an existing one? Where did you find the other 190 GB – as a separate partition, or as "unallocated" space?
    – user1686
    Aug 31, 2012 at 13:21
  • Please see my edit and the output for lsblk - looks like I actually have more than 200GB (surprise!). I only knew that because when this was a Windows machine I knew it had 200GB (and apparently, more) on it. Again, I certainly didn't request Mint to do this explicitly (the 13GB partition). I just used the defaults it offered and this was the result.
    – pnongrata
    Aug 31, 2012 at 13:25
  • Ultimately, I'd like to end up merging sda1 and sda5 together, as there is no purpose for them to be separate.
    – pnongrata
    Aug 31, 2012 at 13:30
  • 2
    @zharvey: So like I guessed, there is another partition, /dev/sda1, created specifically for /home... It is actually more convenient for /home to be separate, it makes OS reinstalls much easier. If you want to merge them, you will have use gparted from a LiveCD.
    – user1686
    Aug 31, 2012 at 13:33

If my math is correct the size of the partition is 13.7 GB based on the value in 1K-blocks column. Looks like when you, or your linux distro created the partitions, it only made 13.7 GB available to your machine, the rest of the disk isn't being used. You can resize the partition using GParted.

  • Thanks @Kibbee - please see my question under grawity's answer - I have the same question for you!
    – pnongrata
    Aug 31, 2012 at 13:19
  • @zharvey There's instructions for resizing your partition with GParted here. Data won't be erased under ideal circumstances although it's probably a good idea to backup anything really important. gparted.sourceforge.net/larry/resize/resizing.htm
    – Kibbee
    Aug 31, 2012 at 13:31

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