NOOB alert I have been using elementary os for a couple of months without issue. I noticed a couple of days ago a low file space alert. So I increased my root partition from 12 GB to 26 GB which seemed to work fine.

I had a freeze this afternoon so I rebooted and since then all I get is thrown back to the password prompt after a couple of black to grey screen flashes.

I booted off a USB and I can see that the root partition is full but I have no idea why or how to investigate it.

So please help with detailled instructions of how get the diagnostic info you need .. Latest elementary os with updates in the last 24hrs 1TB SSD, 64GB RAM Alienware PC

1 Answer 1


Try the Ctrl + Alt + F1/F2/F3 combo at the login screen and see if it drops down to terminal. You can then login by typing your username and then your password. This will give you a terminal shell.

If, according to you, the problem is storage space then you can execute commands from this terminal (ls, rm, cp, mv) to list, view, remove, move and copy stuff to other locations in order to free up the space.

Once you think enough space is available you can sudo reboot to restart and try logging in again.

You can also use a live disk or USB and boot it to manage the partition size of your current installation.

I Once Had A Similar Problem

I had this issue once but it was because I messed up my path variables. Ended up fixing it this way. If your path is messed up, you will see that the system won't recognise any command.

You can acquire shell access by typing /bin/bash. And then exporting path variables.

$ export PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin

  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion. I was able to access terminal and execute a couple of commands. df shows 0 free space on my root volume. Still can't login though graphical interface. Next suggestion please? !
    – Gordon
    May 14, 2020 at 11:33
  • I have edited my answer
    – GunJack
    May 14, 2020 at 15:45
  • Thanks for trhe suggestions GunJack. I wasn't able to find out the offender so in the end I have reinstalled. I'll monitor any unexpected file growth and act before failure tthis time
    – Gordon
    May 19, 2020 at 0:01
  • Well that's a bummer.
    – GunJack
    May 19, 2020 at 0:16

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