As the title says. Since switching to Linux (and actually probably the main thing that prevented me from switching right away many years ago), the system has crashed upwards of 100 times, with data loss each time (usually lost work browsing pages, but sometimes sensitive and important mounted encryption volume file loss).

How does Windows accomplish not running out of free space for it's display? Linux has better uptime stability RAM-wise and for the root system, but these disk storage crashes for the user are a problem. There is a low space notification, but it can be too late or unseen.

Here are a couple subquestions and observations that could be helpful to find the best solution:

  • Is it Xorg that crashes the user's applications because of "No space left on device"
  • Could a similar scheme to the 5% system reserved space be used? Reserved space for root on a filesystem - why? ..aparently uses tune2fs and has a set user option

  • For Kubuntu, after clearing space and switching back to tty1, there is an error regarding 'cannot find xrunner..' and the session terminates. I checked before that from tty2 and Chromium, etc had crashed. Then when clicking on the error message it crashes the user profile again back out to the SDDM greeter.

  • I've used AND: Auto Nice Daemon to tame the RAM and/or swap freezes, could something like ionice be used similarly: How to prevent dd from freezing my system?
  • Maybe limiting any single process to filling 90% of the free space, stopping it and warning when it does, seems like a logical solution. If so, why is this not already done? It could be disabled if an advanced user really wants that extra 10% of space and risk freezing the User GUI. I realize Linux can run on tiny disks, but this is Ubuntu, trying to be a real Desktop.
  • I don't know what you mean by "running out of free space for it's display" and "Linux has better uptime stability RAM-wise and for the root system", which seems to run against your claim of 100's of crashes with data loss. Can you give more concrete information about a particular crash? Which files are using up all your disk space? Can you use df, du, find, etc... to track them down?
    – celadon
    Mar 14, 2020 at 21:16
  • Meaning the desktop GUI crashes (Xorg?). It would be really helpful if it didn't. Why is the desktop display info a per user setting? The greeter GUI seems to be able to run without disk space. I'm not talking about desktop settings, just everything the basic desktop starts with before it is customized.. In this case it was a deleted file writing to Trash, but other times is has be logs, browser cache, downloaded file. The point is not to fix the individual crash, as most of the advice I've seen on the subject, but to create a system resistance to crashes in general.
    – alchemy
    Mar 15, 2020 at 3:40

1 Answer 1


Here is one partial solution. It only stops files from filling the disk space not reserve space for critical user GUI functions.

The outline is to use iotop output to identify high IO usage or a threshold of cumulative IO write, say 50 or 100mbs, to send a warning, and then to stop the process once it has written 90% of the disk space. And send a warning then and when it reaches 50% or 1GB or other thresholds.

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