[mythtv-users] disk full, can't delete files

R. G. Newbury newbury at mandamus.org
Tue Nov 10 23:41:18 UTC 2009

Rod Smith wrote:
> On Monday 09 November 2009 11:27:18 pm David L wrote:
>> I'm a noob running mythbuntu beta more or less up to date.
>> I've found that when the disk is full, mythfrontend crashes
>> and so I can't delete files with it.  Since I didn't know
>> better, the first time this happened to me, I just deleted
>> some of the program files from the command line.
>> I've since learned that that is a bad idea (although
>> myth really should be able to handle that IMHO,
>> but I digress).  It seems I have a chicken/egg problem
>> here... mythfrontend isn't happy because the disk is
>> full and I can't make the disk less full without
>> running mythfrontend to delete files.  What's the right
>> way to work around this problem?
> Try deleting some non-program files, such as the preview files (.png files) 
> and, if any are present, temporary transcode files (.tmp files). If your 
> recording storage partition isn't separate from other partitions, you could 
> also go through and try to find other temporary or unnecessary files to 
> delete. Anything in /tmp is fair game, at least once you've shut down 
> whatever programs created them. Rotated log files in the /var/log directory 
> tree are also good choices for deletion. You could also try uninstalling 
> software you're not using -- say, Firefox or Evolution (I've no idea if 
> Mythbuntu installs either of these). You'd use dpkg, apt-get, Synaptic, or 
> some other package management tool to do this. These measures might buy you 
> just enough disk space to get the system working well enough that you can 
> delete some recordings from within MythTV and set the minimum free space 
> option that another poster mentioned.

Your best bet at this stage is to boot with a live-CD, or from a USB 
stick, then having mounted the full partition, you can delete some files 
and get things working.

You might also want to find and install bleachbit, which is a program 
designed to strip out all the extra junk which a distro install drops 
into your disk, such as myriad unused language files etc. You can easily 
recover a couple of hundred meg using this program.

Mythtv is a quite different milieu that a desktop, and deserves 
different treatment. You really want /home, /var and /video on 
partitions separate from the rest of the OS. /Video is where your TV 
shows reside and can be an LVN volume or raid. It should be a separate 
disk. Home is where you store copies of important setup files (and 
.lircrc lives there anyway). You want /var on a separate partition so 
that a runaway error message process does not lock up the system.
If you are on Fedora, you need, however, to move the mysql folder from 
/var/lib/ to /home/mythtv (or somewhere else). Then use a symlink to the 
new location. Mysql neither knows nor cares that the mythconverg db is 
on /home. Don't forget to ensure that the mysql process 'owns' the 
folder and its contents. I also separate /usr/local (which has all the 
mythtv programs and libraries) onto a separate partition. These 'extra' 
partitions can be reasonably small.

With this sort of setup, you can insured against certain types of 
crashes, and backing up is simple. Best of all, the important stuff is 
separated from the OS, so in the worst case, you can do a complete 
re-install (selecting to 're-use' home and /usr/local) and not lose 

Since the 'important bits' are not that large, compared to video files, 
it is also simple to backup things to a folder on /video...which, as you 
have learned, really does need to be on a different disk from the OS. If 
you have any specific firmware for your tuner, remember to back up 
/lib/firmware too.


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