Thursday, June 5, 2008

Removing old kernels from your system

After a while you're starting to collect kernel versions on your system.

Since Hardy came out, with kernel 2.6.24-16, we had two kernel updates, so, in grub we have now entries to kernels 2.6.24-16, 2.6.24-17 and 2.6.24-18.

We just need one to boot in, and we and the most recent one of course. Still, when deciding to remove an old kernel be aware of possible problems.

Virtualbox for instance, needs a module to the specific kernel you're running. Every time a new kernel is released your Virtualbox setup will not work until your upgrade the said module.
So, if you need to use Virtualbox and you don't yet have the new module, you could just restart into the old kernel.

So, think before you remove old kernels.

Removing old kernels
  • Check what versions you have installed
$ sudo dpkg --list | grep linux-image
  •   Output example
ii linux-image-2.6.24-16-generic 2.6.24-16.30 Linux kernel image for version 2.6.24 on x86
ii linux-image-2.6.24-17-generic 2.6.24-17.31 Linux kernel image for version 2.6.24 on x86
ii linux-image-2.6.24-18-generic 2.6.24-18.32 Linux kernel image for version 2.6.24 on x86
ii linux-image-generic Generic Linux kernel image
ii virtualbox-ose-guest-modules-2.6.24-18-generic 24.0.3 virtualbox-ose-guest module for linux-image-
ii virtualbox-ose-modules-2.6.24-18-generic 24.0.3 virtualbox-ose module for linux-image-2.6.24
  • In this example, only the first 3 rows are candidates to go. Make sure you don't remove the kernel you're using.
$ uname -r
  • To remove, for instance 2.6.24-16
$ sudo apt-get remove linux-image-2.6.24-16-generic
  • Update your grub list
$ sudo update-grub
And that is that.

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