SUSE Support

Here When You Need Us

Kernel upgrade fails due to insufficient space on boot partition.

This document (7018350) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Service Pack 4 (SLED 10 SP4)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 Service Pack 4 (SLED 11 SP4)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 12
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Service Pack 4 (SLES 10 SP4)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 4 (SLES 11 SP4)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Service Pack 1 (SLES 12 SP1)


Error occurs during OS patching and, as a result, the latest kernel is not installed.   Here's an example of an error returned while updating a SLES 12 SP1 system configured with a 75MB /boot partition:

Installation of kernel-default-3.12.67- failed:
Error: Subprocess failed.  Error: RPM failed:    installing package kernel-default-
3.12.67- needs 17MB on /boot filesystem

Abort, retry, ignore? [a/r/i] (a):


Move the vmlinux, vmlinuz, and initrd images out of the /boot directory before starting the installation: 
hostname:~ # mkdir /tmp/boot
hostname:~ # cd /boot
hostname:/boot # mv vmlinu* initrd* /tmp/boot
hostname:/boot # zypper patch

If patching completes successfully, run an ls on /boot to verify the new vmlinuz and initrd images exist before attempting a reboot:
hostname:/boot # ls


The /boot filesystem was originally set up with less space than is needed to perform the kernel upgrade.

Additional Information

Since the kernel and initrd images are only loaded into memory during the GRUB phase of system boot, moving these files out of /boot  once the system is running will not impact the live system. 


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7018350
  • Creation Date: 02-Dec-2016
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

< Back to Support Search

For questions or concerns with the SUSE Knowledgebase please contact: tidfeedback[at]

SUSE Support Forums

Get your questions answered by experienced Sys Ops or interact with other SUSE community experts.

Support Resources

Learn how to get the most from the technical support you receive with your SUSE Subscription, Premium Support, Academic Program, or Partner Program.

Open an Incident

Open an incident with SUSE Technical Support, manage your subscriptions, download patches, or manage user access.