I recently tried to install a large program and inadvertently filled up my Linux partition. I am now seeing a bunch of errors stemming from this issue. I tried to empty the trash, but I get an error whenever I do so. I've also done rm on several big files, but my OS still seems to think its partition is full, and I'm still seeing the same errors.

How can I free up some memory so my system starts behaving normally again?

I'm operating with Linux Mint 18.2.

Edit: Some specific errors are as follows:

  • When I try to tab-complete in a terminal, I get
      bash: cannot create temp file for here-document: No space left on device
  • When I try to manually delete files from the trash folder (via a file browser), I get an alert saying
    Error while deleting.  There was an error deleting <filename>.
  • When I click the "Empty Trash" button from the file browser, nothing happens. The files in the Trash are unaffected.
  • Try to include some of the errors. That actually tells us what is going on and how it can be fixed. Actual errors are a lot more useful than "a bunch of errors", "I get an error", ... Jan 13, 2021 at 3:27
  • @EduardoTrápani I've added some examples. I'll try to identify some more. The first one makes it very clear that the system thinks it is out of memory.
    – Yly
    Jan 13, 2021 at 3:48
  • Have you rebooted? That would clear up RAM and /tmp.
    – bitinerant
    Jan 13, 2021 at 4:17
  • You should be able to cd into the folder where the Trash is and rm them. Jan 13, 2021 at 4:17
  • 1) Execute df -h and check output. 2) Files could be removed, but inodes are opened. You can use command lsof to check whether files that were removed still exist.
    – metallic
    Jan 13, 2021 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


Rebooting fixed the issue. I was worried that if the bootloader needed some disk space I might not be able to reboot, so I was saving this as a last resort. However, it worked. Note that this was after deleting some files manually via rm.

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