I've installed ArchLinux yesterday and set up a 10 GB partition for the root file system, 256 MB for swap, and the rest (456 GB) for my /home.

However I still have 4.0 GB left on my root file system after installing some packages (GNOME, Firefox, Thunderbird etc...) and running a pacman clear cache.

Does it suffice to have 10 GB for root file system, or could I end up running out of space in a couple of weeks/months?

5 Answers 5


I usually make my root partition sizes for some of the distributions I run around 40 GB and haven't gone less than 20GB.

It really depends on the operating system, display/window manager, and intended use. My intended use is Geographic Information Systems so this can involve installing several extra packages often exceeding several GBs (10+) in disk space once finished.

KDE/GNOME based distros I try to set a 40GB root partition because there are lots of widgets and add-ons available so its good to provide some disk space overhead for those.

Lightweight distros like LXDE, XFCE, icewm for example I can usually get away with a 20GB root partition.

My $.02


I have a notebook and a netbook running Archlinux. On notebook I have 17GB root, and don't have to think much before installing anything. Currently there are 3GB free. Once in a while I remove unused packages and clean package cache though.

On netbook, I have a 4GB for /, and it cannot be resized. Usually less than a 1GB is free there. I pointed CacheDir of /etc/pacman.conf to the larger /home partition to avoid problems during updates.

Both systems run Gnome 3. Netbook has a reasonable range of additional software installed too (LibreOffice, Chromium, Skype, Gimp, Inkscape etc.). Some unneccary compontents (Evolution, games) are removed.


There's no best size for the root file system; it depends on what applications you install.

Keep your current 10 GB partition, and resize it if needed.

  • Is that simple to resize a partition in linux ?
    – Ben D
    Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 12:40
  • It's not difficult; the GParted Live-CD is quite convenient (you will need to boot from another device when resizing your root partition).
    – Renan
    Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 12:42
  • Can I symlink /usr to my home partition in (because it is the folder) or that will cause a problem when booting ?
    – Ben D
    Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 12:47
  • 1
    I don't know, but it doesn't sounds like a good idea.
    – Renan
    Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 13:10

Root partitions for me, don't usually go above 20gb. But make sure you have it fairly large if you want to install games, which put a lot of stuff in the /usr/share area. Depends what you are doing of course. If you want to install a lot more programs, save some room. Are you really going to fill up your home directory?


As everyone says, it really depends on the intended use. I can say that I have Arch Linux on a 4Gb USB stick, with only one partition for everything and no swap. That feels enough, and I even have LibreOffice. No KDE or GNOME though - only Openbox. However, it's not my home environment, obviously - just for fun or rescuing the main system.

So I guess if you need any kind of a window manager, you can't go any lower than that. Add GNOME and here are your 6 Gb that are currently used. If you already have everything you need for the moment, there's a good chance that the spare 4 GB you have will suffice. But if you don't want to guess, there's more than enough space you could off /home.

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