The Ultimate Guide to Fixing Ubuntu Server /boot Full Error

The /boot directory is full, and you don’t know what to do? We’ve got you covered.

Hello, dear reader! Have you ever encountered the ‘/boot directory full’ error on your Ubuntu server? This error can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what to do to fix it. But no worries, in this article, we’ll take you through the steps you need to take to fix this error and prevent it from happening again in the future. But first, let’s take a quick look at what the /boot directory is and why it’s important.

Understanding the /boot Directory

The /boot directory is an essential part of any Linux operating system, including Ubuntu. It contains all the files necessary to boot your system, such as the GRUB bootloader, kernel images, and initial RAM disk. If anything goes wrong with the files in this directory, your system won’t be able to boot up properly, and you’ll be left with a non-functional system. That’s why it’s crucial to keep the /boot directory clean and organized.

What Causes the /boot Directory to Fill Up?

Several factors can cause the /boot directory to fill up, including:

Kernel Updates
When you install a new kernel update, the old one is not automatically removed, which can fill up the /boot directory over time.
Manual Installations
If you manually install programs or drivers, they may be stored in the /boot directory, leading to it filling up.
Old GRUB Configurations
GRUB bootloader configurations from previous installations can take up valuable space in the /boot directory if not removed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Clearing the /boot Directory

Like with any system changes, there are advantages and disadvantages of clearing the /boot directory. Here are some to consider:


  • Prevents your system from crashing or failing to boot up
  • Increases the amount of free space on your system
  • Helps your system run more efficiently


  • If you delete important files, it can render your system unusable
  • Deleting files from the /boot directory can cause issues with the GRUB bootloader, making it harder to boot up your system
  • You may need to reinstall old kernels or drivers if you remove them from the /boot directory, which can be time-consuming.

How to Fix the /boot Full Error?

Step 1: Check the Size of the /boot Directory

The first step in fixing this error is to check the size of the /boot directory. To do this, run the following command in your terminal:

df -h /boot

This command will show you how much space is being used in the /boot directory. If the directory is full, you’ll need to free up some space.

Step 2: Remove Old Kernels

As mentioned earlier, old kernels can take up a lot of space in the /boot directory. To remove them, run the following command:

sudo apt-get autoremove

This command will remove all old kernels except the one you’re currently using. Alternatively, you can use the following command to remove specific kernels:

sudo apt-get remove linux-image-XXXXX-generic

Make sure you replace XXXXX with the version number of the kernel you want to remove.

Step 3: Remove Old GRUB Configurations

If you’ve installed Ubuntu multiple times on your system, you may have old GRUB configurations taking up space in the /boot directory. To remove them, run the following command:

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sudo apt-get remove grub-pc

This command will remove all old GRUB configurations, and you can then reinstall the latest version of the bootloader.

Step 4: Clean Up Cached Files

Your system may have cached files taking up space in the /boot directory. To clear them, run the following command:

sudo apt-get clean

This command will remove all cached files from your system.

Step 5: Increase /boot Partition Size

If none of the above solutions work, you may need to increase the size of the /boot partition. This can be tricky and may require a backup of your system before attempting. It’s recommended only for advanced users.


Q1. Can I delete all the files in the /boot directory?

No. Deleting all the files in the /boot directory can render your system unusable. Only remove old kernel images and other unnecessary files.

Q2. Can I manually delete old kernel images?

Yes, you can manually delete old kernel images using the command ‘sudo apt-get remove linux-image-XXXX-generic’.

Q3. Can I resize the /boot partition?

Yes, it’s possible, but it’s recommended only for advanced users as it can be risky and may require a system backup before attempting.

Q4. What happens if the /boot directory is full?

If the /boot directory is full, you may experience system crashes or issues booting up your system.

Q5. Do I need to reinstall old kernels?

If you remove old kernels from the /boot directory, you may need to reinstall them if you encounter issues with the new kernel.

Q6. How do I check the size of the /boot directory?

Run the command ‘df -h /boot’ in your terminal to check the size of the /boot directory.

Q7. How often should I clean up the /boot directory?

It’s recommended to clean up the /boot directory every few months or after updating your system.


Fixing the /boot full error is critical to keep your Ubuntu server running smoothly. With the above steps, you can free up space in the /boot directory and prevent the error from happening again in the future.

Don’t wait until it’s too late – take action now to keep your system in top shape!

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If you’re still having issues with your Ubuntu server, feel free to contact us for support. We’re always here to help.

Closing Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Use the information at your own risk. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for any damages resulting from the use of this information.

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