5 Linux commands to check free disk space

Keep track of disk utilization with this handy list of commands.
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How to find files in Linux

Lewis Cowles, CC BY-SA 4.0

Keeping track of disk utilization information is on system administrators' (and others') daily to-do list. Linux has a few built-in utilities that help provide that information.

Linux df command

The df command stands for "disk-free," and shows available and used disk space on the Linux system.

df -h shows disk space in human-readable format

df -a shows the file system's complete disk usage even if the Available field is 0

df command

df -T shows the disk usage along with each block's filesystem type (e.g., xfs, ext2, ext3, btrfs, etc.)

df -i shows used and free inodes

df command

You can get this information in a graphical view using the Disks (gnome-disk-utility) in the GNOME desktop. Launch it to see all disks detected by your computer, and click a partition to see details about it, including space used and space remaining.

GNOME Disks

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Linux du command

du shows the disk usage of files, folders, etc. in the default kilobyte size

du -h shows disk usage in human-readable format for all directories and subdirectories

du -a shows disk usage for all files

du -s provides total disk space used by a particular file or directory

du command

The following commands will check your total space and your utilized space.

This information can be represented visually in GNOME with the Disk Usage application, or with Filelight in the KDE Plasma desktop. In both applications, disk usage is mapped to concentric circles, with the middle being the base folder (usually your /home directory, but it's up to you) with each outer ring representing one directory level deeper. Roll your mouse over any segment for detailed information about what's taking up space.

Disk usage

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Linux ls -al command

ls -al lists the entire contents, along with their size, of a particular directory

ls -al command

Linux stat command

stat <file/directory> displays the size and other stats of a file/directory or a filesystem.

stat command

Linux fdisk -l command

fdisk -l shows disk size along with disk partitioning information

fdisk - l command

These are most of the built-in utilities for checking file space in Linux. There are many similar tools, like Disks (GUI), Ncdu, etc., that also show disk space utilization. Do you have a favorite tool that's not on this list? Please share in the comments.

This article was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated to include additional information.

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OpenStack enthusiast. Linux and Networking guy. Just trying to give my two cents in this billion-trillion dollar "Open Source" world.

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