Disk Usage in Linux

Disk usage by partition

Checking on disk usage of mounted partitions in Linux is one command.

df -h

The -h makes the output human readable (think MB, GB instead of bytes or kilobytes)

Disk usage by directory

The command used to check disk usage of directories on Linux is du.

Note the regular output is in kilobytes, but like other utils that work with sizes, adding -h will make the results human readable.

Also the default behavior is to recursively go through all the files in the directories provided (or the current directory). Think of commands like ls -R or find.

Adding a -s will “summarize” the output instead of recursing into the directories provided. There is also a -c option to give a total at the end.

The command I use all the time to see what is taking up the most space is:

du -shc * | sort -hr

Graphical tools

All kinds of awesome scripts and programs exist to visualize disk usage in creative ways.

Tools like ncdu to duc provide alternative ways to see disk usage with a curses like interface.

I found one installed on my system with KDE called Filelight which lays out files in a cool pie chart. It actually prompted me to make this post so I could share it 😆.