Freeing up space on a Raspberry Pi

Partway through a big compile, the process died with “No space left on device”. Aaarrgh! What to do?

The Pi had an 8GB card and check with df -h showed this:

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/root       7.2G  6.8G   34M 100% /

So that’s me stuffed. Or is it?

Option 1

Use a bigger memory card; 16GB, 32GB … Yeah, great. I’m 30% through a compile based on a complicated setup using lots of downloads and additions. Either I’d have to start again from square one or image the existing card and copy it onto the new one. Helluva hassle. Besides, first I’d have go out and buy a new card. Not an option.

Option 2

Install Raspbian Lite. It’s Raspbian without all the extras.

This is what I should have done at the outset. Hindsight’s a great thing, but I’d still be faced with starting from square one. What else?

Option 3

Expand the filesystem. Run the command sudo raspi-config. You’ll get this:

Select Advanced Options:

Choose Expand Filesystem. After a reboot you’ll hopefully you’ll have more space. But not in my case. So that left …


Option 4

Delete unneeded programs.

The beauty of Linux is it’s easy to reinstall stuff later, so I tried deleting things I didn’t need and charting my progress.Here are the results.



sudo apt-get purge wolfram-engine
677M recovered
sudo apt-get purge libreoffice*
250M recovered
sudo apt-get purge minecraft-pi*
5M recovered
sudo apt-get purge sonic-pi*
134M recovered

I finishing up with:

sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get autoremove

which freed up another 100M+ and re-ran df -h:

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/root       7.2G  5.6G  1.3G  82% /

That’s 1.3GB freed up. Almost 20% of my 8GB card. Result!

Now back to that compile …


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