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By default my ext3 file system had 122060 blocks(5%) reserved. I decreased this to 24412(1%), but there were no changes in df output:

root@t60:~# df -P
Filesystem         1024-blocks      Used Available Capacity Mounted on
/dev/sda1              9611492   9611492         0     100% /
tmpfs                  1032740         0   1032740       0% /lib/init/rw
udev                   1028300       212   1028088       1% /dev
tmpfs                  1032740       272   1032468       1% /dev/shm
/dev/sda6            294079488  84665932 194475140      31% /home
root@t60:~# tune2fs -m 1 /dev/sda1
tune2fs 1.41.12 (17-May-2010)
Setting reserved blocks percentage to 1% (24412 blocks)
root@t60:~# df -P
Filesystem         1024-blocks      Used Available Capacity Mounted on
/dev/sda1              9611492   9611492         0     100% /
tmpfs                  1032740         0   1032740       0% /lib/init/rw
udev                   1028300       212   1028088       1% /dev
tmpfs                  1032740       272   1032468       1% /dev/shm
/dev/sda6            294079488  84665932 194475140      31% /home
root@t60:~# 

Any ideas why is this so?

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2 Answers

Most likely, the root reserve is already in use. It's the root filesystem and with a separated /home, most writes there are done by root anyway. You'll have to grow the filesystem, or delete something.

If you want to find out what is taking up all your space, you can use du or xdiskusage on an unobstructed mount point.

mkdir /mnt/root
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/root
du -hcs /mnt/root/*
# or
xdiskusage /mnt/root/
# or similar
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The total number of blocks (the leftmost column with numbers in the df output) includes the blocks that are reserved to root. If you see that “available” is 0, but “used” is less than the total, it means that all but the reserved blocks are in use. If “used” matches the total, then all the reserved blocks are already in use. On a root filesystem, it's not surprising: most of the files tend to be owned by root (installed software, logs).

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