From time to time we have to clean up our system memory to make room for installing new programs and handling additional files. This is especially important when you have a low storage device or a limited storage capacity. Even if you have a large storage available but you are a person like me who likes to clear up clutter from time to time, this article will brief you about multiple ways to do so. Debian might be a light operating system but it is not too friendly on the storage, especially because it does not delete the packages it downloads for installing software.

This article shows you 5 ways to clear up disk space on a Debian 10 Buster system, mostly through the graphical interface so that even a beginner can master this skill.

Empty the Trash

You might have a large amount of useless data residing in your trash can. This takes up equal system space as the most useful data on your system. It is the easiest and quickest solution to empty the trash in order to use that space for more important purposes. Simply open the File Manager and right-click the Trash icon from the left panel. Select the Empty Trash option to permanently delete all the files from the trash can.

Empty the Trash

Delete Temporary Files Using BleachBit

Certain files on your system like browser histories, caches and temporary files from various programs might be taking more space than you can imagine. BleachBit, available through the Debian Software Centre, is an automatic clean up program that rids your system from all the unwanted temporary files. First, download the BleachBit software and then run it as an administrator through the following command, because this way you will be able to remove the unwanted apt packages and some more system data along with the usual temporary files.

Install Bleachbit

$ sudo apt-get install bleachbit

Run Bleachbit:

$ sudo bleachbit

Become root user

The first time you open BleachBit, you will be able to set up some preferences for data cleaning.

Configure Bleachbit cleanup tool

Make your choices and then click the Close button. After that, you can select the file categories you want to clean and click the Clean button.

Confirm file deletion

Click the Delete button to permanently get rid of the temporary files. The following image shows how some disk space was recovered from my system after cleaning it. For you, it might be a lot, depending on the kind of data you have in your system.

Disk cleaned up with Bleachbit

Analyze Your Disk Usage Using DISK Usage Analyzer

Our system may have a large number of unwanted files without us knowing or remembering them. The Disk Usage Analyzer tool scans your file system and presents a graphical view of the directories taking a huge chunk of space on your system. You can reach those directories and locate and get rid of the files that are making your storage heavy. You can access this free tool through the Application Launcher search as follows:

Disk usage analyzer

By clicking the red zones of your graph, you can navigate exactly to where a heavy file resides.

Disk usage graphic

You can then use this information in deciding what needs to be deleted to optimize space usage.

Find Heavy Applications Using Synaptic Package Manager

The Synaptic Manager can help you get rid of the packages that you might have used previously to install some programs on your system. These packages are only required if you need to uninstall and then re-install a software. Keeping these packages in your storage is not a very smart choice as fast internet connections these days can help you download them very quickly again when needed.

You can download this package manager from Debian Software Manager if it does not come by default on your Linux system.

Since Debian 10 Buster runs Wayland for graphical display and Synaptic does not run on Wayland, you need to run the following commands in order to launch Synaptic Package Manager.

Run synaptic

On the Synaptic Package Manager, click the Status button from the left panel and then click Installed.

Find large applications using synaptic

This will list all the installed packages on your system. The list in the right-panel might not show you the size column by default. In order to view this very important column, click the Settings menu and then the Preferences option. Here, make sure that the Size column is enabled. Please move this option up to the top so that it starts to appear in your list of packages. Now when you view the list, you can easily point out the packages taking a lot of space on your system, please make sure not to delete a heavy but important package, for example, the kernel package. You can select an item from this list, right-click on that item, and then select Mark for Complete Removal in order to delete the unwanted package from your system. Finally, click on the Apply button to commit the changes.

Remove Old Kernels Using Synaptic Package Manager

Whenever you install a new Kernel for Debian, it keeps the old Kernel saved and you can even boot to an old one. Debian does this so that you can access the system even if the new kernel is not working. When you are sure you can boot through the latest install and want to delete the previous versions, you can do so through the Synaptic Package Manager. Simply search for the keyword “linux-” and then select the packages you want to remove from the list. Mark them for removal from the right-menu and get rid of them for good by clicking the Apply button.

Remove old Kernel versions

Through the five ways described in this article, you can free up space on your computer or enjoy a de-cluttered environment even as a Debian beginner.

5 Ways to Free Up Disk Space on Debian 10