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If you’ve upgraded your Ubuntu system to 11.10, or have a fresh install, you might find that when you right-click a USB drive and choose “Safely Remove Drive” in the left pane in Nautilus, the system hangs. This appears to affect some users of the Linux kernel 3.0.0-12, which at this early stage would be what most users have, so if this applies to you, it should be easy enough to fix.

Go to http://people.canonical.com/~ogasawara/lp844957/ and into the folder for your architecture (i386 or amd64). Install the 3 .debs located therein (I did so with GDebi, but should be the same in Ubuntu Software Centre, just slower), and reboot. You should now be able to successfully remove the drive without issue the next time you connect it.

NOTE: What you’re actually doing here is replacing the 3 main kernel packages, but for me and a bunch of others affected, there were no issues, with kernel 3.0.0-13 replacing the old one in GRUB, booting into Ubuntu just fine, and resolving the freezing issue when trying to remove USB drives.

Do not use this if your kernel is a later version (i.e. higher than 3.0.0-13). It probably wouldn’t kill your system, but reverting to an earlier kernel is extreme measures, so try find a more current and applicable solution (this fix appeared within days, so it does pay to spend a few minutes looking around the web, especially the Ubuntu Forums).

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Unless you have a totally fresh install of Ubuntu, you have probably noticed that each time you boot up, the GRUB boot menu lists a bunch of previous Linux kernels which you can boot into. While this can occasionally come in handy – like if you can’t boot into the new kernel after an upgrade – those previous kernels, images and modules are usually just wasting space.

While you can go into Synaptic, search for all the bits and pieces of previous kernels, and mark them for removal, here is a much easier method. In a terminal, simply paste the following command, and it will remove all but the current kernel (if you’ve upgraded your system, or had an update with a new kernel, please reboot your machine before running this):

dpkg -l 'linux-*' | sed '/^ii/!d;/'"$(uname -r | sed "s/\(.*\)-\([^0-9]\+\)/\1/")"'/d;s/^[^ ]* [^ ]* \([^ ]*\).*/\1/;/[0-9]/!d' | xargs sudo apt-get -y purge

You will see some info about what is going on:

The following packages will be REMOVED:
linux-headers-2.6.35-22* linux-headers-2.6.35-22-generic*
linux-headers-2.6.35-23* linux-headers-2.6.35-23-generic*
linux-image-2.6.32-25-generic* linux-image-2.6.35-22-generic*
linux-image-2.6.35-23-generic*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 7 to remove and 13 not upgraded.
After this operation, 586MB disk space will be freed.
(Reading database … 261863 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-22-generic …
Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-22 …
Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-23-generic …
Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-23 …
Removing linux-image-2.6.32-25-generic …

It will then go on to generate a new GRUB menu, and when you reboot, you’ll see only the current kernel is listed.

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

Buy Ubuntu Genius a Beer to say Thanks!

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