Linux - du (Disk Usage)


du is a disk usage tool that estimates file space usage by subfolder.

It exists also as Technet edition

  • Windows: cleanmgr.exe Free also the %temp% directory.


du [OPTION]... [FILE]...
du [OPTION]... --files0-from=F


Data Filtering

  • -a, –all: get info for all files, not just directories
  • --max-depth=N: print the total for a directory (or file, with --all) only if it is N or fewer levels below the command line argument; --max-depth=0 is the same as --summarize
  • -X FILE, --exclude-from=FILE: Exclude files that match any pattern in FILE.
  • --exclude=PATTERN Exclude files that match PATTERN.


  • -s, --summarize display only a total for each argument
  • -c, --total: produce a grand total


  • -S, --separate-dirs do not include size of subdirectories
  • --apparent-size: print apparent sizes, rather than disk usage; although the apparent size is usually smaller, it may be larger due to holes in (“sparse”) files, internal fragmentation, indirect blocks, and the like
  • -l, --count-links: show sizes many times if hard linked
  • -L, --dereference: dereference all symbolic links
  • -P, --no-dereference: don’t follow any symbolic links (this is the default)


  • --time show time of the last modification of any file in the directory, or any of its subdirectories
  • --time=WORD show time as WORD instead of modification time: atime, access, use, ctime or status
  • --time-style=STYLE show times using style STYLE:
    • full-iso,
    • long-iso,
    • iso,
    • +FORMAT FORMAT is interpreted like ‘date’
  • -0, --null: end each output line with 0 byte rather than newline
  • -h, --human-readable: print sizes in human readable format (e.g., 1K 234M 2G)
  • --si like -h, but use powers of 1000 not 1024
  • --block-size=SIZE: display the size as a multiple of SIZE. Shortcut
    • -b: bit --block-size=SIZE
    • -k: --block-size=1k
    • -m: --block-size=1M

Difference between du and df

du shows the space by file whereas df shows the space by block of file.

If there is a big difference in their output, try to see if some deleted file are not held by a process as open.

Example with linux and lsof

 lsof /device | grep -i deleted

Deleted Open File

If this is the case, you need to restart the process to reclaim this buffers.


Top space

To find the top space users in a directory

du -k | sort -n

Show larger than specified size

  • larger than 100MB
du -h -t 100M -a

get sizes of each file

du -a tmp
4       tmp/testFile.txt
8       tmp

get total size of a folder

  • with –max-depth=0
du --max-depth=0 ~
6167480 /home/oracle

  • with the s option
du -s ~
6167480 /home/oracle

get size of each sub folder

  • with –max-depth=1
du -h --max-depth=1

get sub-folder total size of containing files only (without sub-folder size)

$ du -Sc --max-depth=1 ~
8       /home/oracle/jos
20      /home/oracle/.ssh
20      /home/oracle/index_advisor
4       /home/oracle/.mozilla
345688  /home/oracle/112272_diag
36276   /home/oracle/.dropbox-dist
4       /home/oracle/.gconf
4       /home/oracle/.gnome
4       /home/oracle/.dbus
20      /home/oracle/.dropbox
4       /home/oracle/.gnome2
4       /home/oracle/.gnome2_private
4       /home/oracle/.java
20      /home/oracle/.vnc
400     /home/oracle/linux8664
8       /home/oracle/bea
8       /home/oracle/.gconfd
12      /home/oracle/oraInventory
173020  /home/oracle/crash
16      /home/oracle/.dropbox-master
256     /home/oracle/Dropbox
4       /home/oracle/.config
4       /home/oracle/oradiag_oracle
4842736 /home/oracle
6167480 total

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