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I was watching YouTube with Tor Browser, when the storage on my computer got full. This happened yesterday and the storage got emptied again after a while. The program that shows what files use up storage showed that /var and timeshift had used up the most. When the storage got full again today, I ignored it, since it had just gone down again the other day.

This time YouTube started crashing first, then programs wouldn’t open. I couldn’t even turn the computer off on the GUI, so I pressed the power switch on my laptop.

I went into recovery mode and under system summary it says /dev/mapper/mint--vg-root is using 214GB, 100% use. I pressed resume and was able to open it up for a short while. Under program files it says 0 bytes free space.

Does anyone know what all that used up storage is? What can I do to reset my laptop? I don’t have any important files and I had barely even downloaded software so I don’t mind if it all gets deleted.

Currently back in recovery menu.

Details: Asus X541U Laptop Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon, with Linux 4.15.0-52-generic (recovery mode)

Edit: I deleted a few files with the root shell prompt. Then I was able to start mint normally. Checking the free space it had a bit more than 1GB. It started going down again without me doing anything. I thought maybe it’s downloading something so I turned off the wifi but it kept going until things stopped working again.

Edit2: I deleted a timeshift snapshots depository and it freed up about 70GB. Should I just remove timeshift? Because it copying files made me unable to use anything. Also I have no idea why snapshots are so big when I have almost nothing downloaded. Otherwise, I’m able to use my laptop now again.

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The lesson you learned here is to keep your root separate from your /home.

Also, do you mean you are backing up your system in the same drive? Don't do that. Use a separate disk/partition for backup.

If, as you said, don't mind reinstall your system, keep those things in mind.

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    By keeping root separate from /home do you mean I should give them separate names? Sorry if that’s a dumb question. – ninjaone Jun 23 at 19:32
  • @ninjaone They mean /home should be a separate partition. That way, if it fills up, the root file system will not be affected. It's also common to keep /var on its own partition for the same reason. I would also suggest doing backups to a drive external to your main computer, like a NAS or some other account on another machine, or just an external hard drive (I'm assuming timeshift is some sort of backup software, that's why I mention it). Keeping backups on the same disk as you back up is pretty useless if the disk crashes. – Kusalananda Jun 23 at 20:06
  • @Kusalananda how do I do that? – ninjaone Jun 23 at 20:19
  • @ninjaone I'm not sure which part of my comment you are referring to. Do a search on this site for similar questions, and if you can't find anything of interest, ask a new question. – Kusalananda Jun 23 at 20:20
  • @Kusalananda sorry I only saw the first part of your comment not sure if you edited it or it’s something on my part. Thanks for the info. – ninjaone Jun 23 at 20:25

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