Cleaning Up a Linux Mint System

dust-cleaning-300x237Currently, I use two different laptops running Linux Mint 14. The first is a Dell Inspiron Mini 10, and the other is an old HP zv5000. If you are unclear what those are, the first is a netbook, and the other was manufactured before dinosaurs roamed the earth. I have named the latter in honor of an old online acquaintance of mine. It’s name is Dino.

Since memory and disk space is meager, it is critical that I keep the older laptop running in tip-top shape.  To do this, I have installed a few applications to help clean up the machine.  One is already installed by default and is explained before. If the first step is familiar to you, then you’ll find these instructions will also work for Ubuntu as well.

Remove Residual Config Files

Residual Config packages are dependency packages left after a package is uninstalled. They clutter your system and should be removed. To do this, we will use the Synaptic Package Manager already installed on your machine.


Once the program is opened — you will have to enter your administrator password to use it — look to the bottom left-hand corner of the window. There is a button labeled “Status”. Click it.

In the dialog box on the upper left-hand side, you will see a list with the following text:

InstalledInstalled (auto removable)Installed (local or obsolete)Installed (upgradable)Not installedNot installed (Residual config)

I would provide a screenshot as an example, but my system is clean, and the last option is omitted. If your list is free of the “Residual config” dialog as well, then your system is free of these packages. Otherwise, click on the “Residual config” text. You should see a list of packages with unmarked check boxes. At this time, check any packages you wish to remove and click Apply.

Remove Partial Packages

This is easy, and if you are familiar with command line usages of apt, then you have probably used this already.

To use, open a terminal window and type in the following:

sudo apt-get autoclean

Remove Unnecessary Locale Data

Unnecessary locale data would be classified as any localized file that would not be of any use. For instance, you speak English and use it. You don’t need files for the languages of Zimbabwe installed. This little utility will remove unnecessary files when installing but each time you install a new package.

To install, open a terminal window and type the following:

sudo apt-get install localepurge
After installation, it will automatically remove any translation pages that you fail to specific during its initial configuration. During this, you will want to select whatever language you use and omit the others. For instance, if you are in the United States and use English, you would select the following:


Removed Orphaned Packages

Again we want to remove any packages that don’t have a home or family. 🙂

To install, open a terminal window and type the following:

sudo apt-get install deborphan
To use, type in the same window:
sudo deborphan | xargs sudo apt-get -y remove --purge
There are other packages out there that do this using your desktop GUI, but I find using the command line quicker.

These steps should help improve system performance and free up your disk space.

Feel free to leave any questions in your comments.


About The Author

is a blogger, writer, self-proclaimed geek & nerd, and the gyrl behind Ramblings of a Gyrl. A few cats shy of 'crazy cat lady' status and fully embraces her love of video games, films, cooking, and literature. She is currently writing her first novel for publication.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Very useful post, thanks so much. It was very helpful to me. However, there is a tiny little syntax error in the last terminal command.

    It should be ” –purge” instead of ” -purge”. I’m no Linux admin superstar, I just tried to run it as written, it came back with error”

    “E: Command line option ‘p’ [from -purge] is not understood in combination with the other options.”

    So I took a semi-educated guess that the extra dash was needed…and it worked! 🙂

    I’m running Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya. Thanks again!

    • Angela

      The double dashes were there when I went to edit the post. It appears that a WordPress plugin that I am running converted the double dash to an em dash. Easily fixed with a tweak in the post’s syntax.

      Thank you for pointing it out.

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