Below are all the linux kernels that are running on my machine. I am trying to make a debian base install as light as possible. The kernel I am running is linux-image-2.6.30-vortex86mx-apm. I am wondering will it be safe to remove all others using apt-get remove kernel-image-xxxxxx

    ||/ Name                               Version                      Description
    un  linux-image                        <none>                       (no description available)
    un  linux-image-2.6                    <none>                       (no description available)
    ii  linux-image-2.6-486                2.6.32+29                    Linux 2.6 for old PCs (meta-package)
    un  linux-image-2.6-686                <none>                       (no description available)
    un  linux-image-2.6-686-bigmem         <none>                       (no description available)
    un  linux-image-2.6-amd64              <none>                       (no description available)
    un  linux-image-2.6-k7                 <none>                       (no description available)
    un  linux-image-2.6-openvz-686         <none>                       (no description available)
    un  linux-image-2.6-vserver-686        <none>                       (no description available)
    un  linux-image-2.6-vserver-686-bigmem <none>                       (no description available)
    un  linux-image-2.6-xen-686            <none>                       (no description available)
    ii  linux-image-2.6.30-vortex86mx-apm  1.1                          Linux kernel binary image for version 2.6.30-vortex86mx-apm
    ii  linux-image-2.6.32-5-486           2.6.32-41                    Linux 2.6.32 for old PCs

2 Answers 2


"ii" and "un" are the status of the package. The first letter means the action what should be done to this package, ("i" install, "u" remove), the second is the current status ("i": installed, "n": not installed). See the dpkg-query manpage for more information.

So you have 2 kernels installed ( linux-image-2.6.32-5-486 and its meta-package linux-image-2.6-486 and linux-image-2.6.30-vortex86mx-apm).

If your current kernel runs without any problems, it is safe to remove the other. But in some situations it is practical to have a backup kernel.

Usually you want also remove also any configuration file which is associated to packages, so use apt-get purge <packagename> or apt-get --purge remove <packagename>.


To find all installed Linux kernel images in Debian, use:

dpkg -l linux-image-\* | grep ^ii

This will select all packages that are in "installed" state. ("un" means Desired state Unknown and status Not installed, in other words, not installed. See the header preceding the output).

There can only be one kernel loaded at a time, so you can safely remove other kernels (linux-image-2.6.32-5-486 and its meta-package linux-image-2.6-486).

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