No Space Left on Device error on a Linux system means that the partition you are trying to write data to or save files on lacks sufficient space for the operation. There are several things that users can do to resolve the error, all of which involve either freeing up additional space on the partition or extending the total size of available space. In this tutorial, we will show you how to resolve the
No Space Left on Device, and go over some basic Linux commands that can help us to identify the problem.
In this tutorial you will learn:
- How to see which partition is full with
- How to identify the biggest directories with
- How to identify big directories with Disk Analyzer GUI utility
- How to clear browser and user cache
- How to shrink or extend a disk partition
|Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
|Any Linux distro
|Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the
# – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
Resolving the ‘No Space Left on Device’ Error on Linux
There are several ways to resolve the
No Space Left on Device error on Linux. The most obvious is to delete some data on the partition to free up space. Another option is to extend the file system to make the partition bigger. We will go over how to do this in the steps below:
- Start by figuring out which partition is full. The df command can help with this. We recommend using the
-hoption to put the output in human readable format.
$ df -h
You can use other commands in addition to
df. Check out our other tutorial on How to check disk usage by folder on Linux for more command examples.
- Now that you know which partition is causing the problem, try identifying which directories and files are consuming the most space by using the du command. Use the
-hoption to put the sizes in human readable format, and optionally pipe the output to the
sortcommand to put all the biggest directories at the top of the list.
$ du -h | sort -h 415M ./Gentoo 671M ./Arch Linux 1.9G ./RHEL-based/Fedora 6.5G ./Debian-based/Kali Linux 9.4G ./Debian-based/Ubuntu 11G ./RHEL-based/AlmaLinux 14G ./RHEL-based/CentOS 17G ./Debian-based 27G ./RHEL-based 44G . OR: $ du -h --max-depth=1 | sort -h 415M ./Gentoo 671M ./Arch Linux 17G ./Debian-based 27G ./RHEL-based 44G .
See more helpful examples on our tutorial How to check disk usage by folder on Linux.
- If you prefer a GUI method to identify what is taking up the most space on your partition, you can install and use the Disk Usage Analyzer GUI utility. It can be installed as
baobabvia your system’s package manager.
- A quick way to free up additional space is to clear your browser cache. This can often grow to multiple gigabytes of size in very little time. The process will vary depending on your browser, but it is easy to find the option in your browser’s menus.
You can also clear your current user’s general cache with this Linux command:
$ rm -rf ~/.cache/*
- Another option is to extend the length of the partition which is out of room. This can only be done if you have unused storage space on the disk or plan to shrink another existing partition and repurpose that space for the partition which is out of room. This process involves use of the
partedcommand and is beyond the scope of this tutorial, so check out our other guide on How to partition a drive on Linux to see how to shrink and extend a partition in Linux.
- There is another obvious option which is to simply store your data on a different partition. Once again, you can use the
dfcommand to figure out if you have any usable partitions that have free space on them. If so, just save your data to the partition that has some space on it.
If you do not have any more room on your system and have already deleted everything you do not need, then there is only one solution left: you need to upgrade your storage by installing more hard disks or replacing your current drives with bigger disks. You can also try offloading some of your files to a cloud service or pick up a NAS (network attached storage) if you have a lot of files that need to be stored and backed up.
In this tutorial, we saw how to resolve the
No Space Left on Device on a Linux system. This involved identifying which partition was full and giving the error, and how to figure out which files we could safely get rid of in order to free up some much needed space. We also went over a variety of alternatives, such as using a different partition for storage, extending the file system, picking up a NAS, using cloud storage, or just upgrading your current hardware with bigger disk drives.