Friday, September 12, 2008

Handle (nearly) full disks

Full disks and the lack of warning that you get about this can lead to serious problems.
So were my settings from some programs (Firefox) not saved. Happily I nailed the problem down before booting down or else I might have had log in problems.
And also:
The only thing to do is watch the Nautilus window in the left corner very regularly to see how full your disk is. Of course you also have Gnome Disk Manager Tool. To see what is using your disk space.
Another possibility is to use the Gnome Config Editor:
"Go into Gconf-editor and /desktop/volume_manager and change the "percent_threshold" value to a higher value - 7% or something like that. " Unclear to me if that value should be changed from 0.05 to 7 or to 0.07. The aim is that you get a warning that your disk is nearly full.

To avoid fragmentation keep 20 % of your partition free!


Ack! No disk space!

There are few things more disturbing to users than to attempt to log into the computer and be bounced right back out to the login prompt. Yet, this is precisely what happens if the /home partition fills up: with no space left on the drive, the shell can’t write temporary files it normally does on login, and the result is that you can’t log in (unless you’re root).

So, obviously it would be good to get a warning about systems where this is about to happen. Similar failures of the /, /var, /tmp, or /usr drives are not as catastrophic, but are by the same token more insidious. As a result, I long ago adopted the practice of doing a df to check disk usage as a first step whenever anything mysterious goes wrong on a system. Surprisingly often, this leads right to the source of the problem.

Solution for not being able to log in:

Using ctrl-alt-F1 at the normal login screen with get you a terminal login in Ubuntu if you are unable to access your login from the Gnome GUI. From there using rm to delete the large files will free up enough disk space to allow me to login normally with the GUI. Or move files to usb hard or flash drive.

Or after you are logged in type "sudo apt-get clean" without the quotation marks, enter your password again if prompted and restart to see if you can log in normally.

Good suggestions to empty your disk:

Empty Trashcan.

If you're running critically low on space (a gig is critically low? that makes me feel old), I would recommend opening Synaptic, going to Settings -> Preferences -> Files [tab] and telling the system to "Delete downloaded packages after installation.

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