Show Disk Usage With ‘ncdu’

In today’s article, we’re going to learn how to show disk usage with ‘ncdu’. It’ll be a fun terminal exercise that lets you see your disk usage. I’d say this is on par with a beginner article, ’cause it’s just some simple terminal commands. So, do read on!

If you think ‘ncdu’ sounds familiar, it may be from a previous article. You should probably read the intro to that article, as it will save you some time and is reasonably informative.

How To: Find Large Files Using ‘ncdu’

We’ll be using that same tool, but we’ll be using it in a different manner. That article explains what ‘ncdu’ is. In short, it stands NCurses Disk Usage and it’s a handy enough tool. It describes itself as:

ncdu – NCurses Disk Usage

There are a few ways to use ‘ncdu’ and we’ll be using it to show disk usage in this article. Because you have that handy link up there, I’m going to skip some sections of this article.

Show Disk Usage With ‘ncdu’:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

First, you’re going to need to install ‘ncdu’. Rather than duplicate work, please visit this article. Scroll down and you’ll see how to install ‘ncdu’. 

See? All these previous articles sure make some future articles easier.

Anyhow, now that you have ‘ncdu’ installed, just navigate to the root directory run ‘ncdu’ from the there.

Depending on how much disk space you have attached to your system at the time, it could take a while to run. Let it run and eventually you’ll end up with a screen like this:

ncdu in action
Pretty basic looking, right? Well, look deeper.

As you can see, the first line is highlighted. Well, use the arrow keys to move up and down. Then, use the left and right arrow keys to move back and forth. To keep it simple, if you want to dig deeper, just navigate to the directory you’re curious about and run ‘ncdu’ in that directory.

Hmm… I probably should have timed it. I set ‘ncdu’ running on a desktop with a couple of internal disks and attached to an external disk with a whole lot of files on it. It’s like an 8 TB disk and the system is still trying to process that bad boy.

ncdu can take a long time to run...
It has been a while… It’s okay, I have faith, It’ll finish someday!

Anyhow, read the man page:

There’s more to be done with ‘ncdu’ when you want to explore disk usage. It can take a minute or ten to run, but the information is worth it.

Closure:

There you have it, a fairly short article that explains how to show disk usage with ‘ncdu’. It seemed like a good article to write and it was nice having already covered so much of it. That saves some time and I was a bit late in writing this one.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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How To: Check Disk Usage With ‘df’

In today’s article, we’re going to do exactly what the title suggests; we’re going to check disk usage with ‘df’. This means we’ll be checking disk usage in the terminal. Seeing as ‘df’ is included with every distro on the planet (I’m pretty sure) it means this won’t be all that complicated.

I am still a bit under the weather, but the show must go on! I’ve gone this long without missing a publication date, so I might just as well keep the  streak up. 

As the title suggests, we’ll be using ‘df’ to check disk usage. This will already be installed as one of the default tools, so you won’t need to install it. That’ll save some time! If you’re curious, the ‘df’ tool describes itself as:

df – report file system disk space usage

If you want to get a head start, you can check the help page. To do that, you’ll want to run:

If you’re like to check the version, the command is:

So, with that in mind, let’s just jump into the article.

Check Disk Usage With ‘df’:

Obviously, this is yet another article where we’re learning about doing things in the terminal. That means you’ll need an open terminal. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

With your terminal now open, you can just run the command by itself:

In some cases, it will throw an error and not be able to read everything. That’s usually easily resolved. Just run the command as a privileged user. So that would look like:

Now, you can use that output to do a bunch of math, or just pay attention to the percentages. Or, if you’re wanting, you can use the -h flag and get the output in human-readable format. That looks like:

The output of which might look a little something like this:

the output of sudo df -h
See? No errors and it is nice and readable! You can’t go wrong with that!

As you can see in the picture, I’m only using less than half of my available disk space. I don’t need to worry about running out of space any time soon, but if it gets low I can always check disk usage with ‘df’. Also, it doesn’t matter what directory you’re in when you run the command. As you can see, it runs just fine while in the Downloads directory.

I also wrote an article about using GUI methods to visualize disk space usage. You might prefer one of those methods, but you can always just use the terminal to check disk space.

Closure:

It seemed like a good idea to do a quick article tonight. I’m watching IMSA’s last race of the season and feeling poorly, so hopefully I get some sleep at a reasonable hour. Still, as I mentioned, the show must go on. The site has had a new article every other day for quite a while. I might as well keep up the schedule.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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How To: Find Large Files Using ‘ncdu’

In this article, we’ll learn how to find large files by using ‘ncdu’. It’s useful for spotting large files that eat up your disk space. We’ve previously had an article about visualizing disk usage. Those were some great GUI ways to find large file, but this will be done inside your terminal – and using ncdu.

You’ll find that ‘ncdu‘ stands for NCurses Disk Usage. As the link says, it refers to the similarity with ‘du’ and that it uses the [n]curses programming language. As far as tools like this go, this one is relatively new (from 2007). Unsurprisingly, ncdu defines itself as:

ncdu – NCurses Disk Usage

There are a ton of options for ncdu and we’re only going to touch on just one of ’em. The goal isn’t to teach you how to use ncdu, it’s to teach you how to use ncdu to find large files. If you want to learn more about the tool, you can always refer to the man page.

Now that we understand the scope of this article (how to find large files using ncdu) we can move on into it…

Find Large Files Using ncdu:

Chances are good that ncdu isn’t installed by default and you’ll need to install it. It’s also a text-based application. So, obviously, you’re going to need a terminal open. You can easily open a terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T. That should open your default terminal.

Now, you’re going to need to install ncdu, and one of the following commands should cover the most popular distros:

Fedora:

Debian/Ubuntu: 

Manjaro/Arch: (Note: Should work, threw PGP error in my testing VM.)

openSUSE/SUSE:

RHEL/CentOS: (Note: Needs epel-release.)

Or whatever… It’s available for any distro I could think of to check, and it’s trivial to install it. If you’ve been following this site long enough, you can figure it out. I have the greatest confidence in your ability to get it installed!

That said and done, all I’m going to teach you is how to use it with no flags or anything of the sort. Yup… I wrote all this just to show you a single use type of ncdu.

Basically, for the exercise today, all you need to do is change to the directory you’re curious about and then you’ll just run ncdu in that directory. So, as you just opened your terminal and installed ncdu, you can just run it right there in your /home/<user> directory. It looks like this:

If you want to run it on the root of your drive, just navigate to it and run ncdu all over again. Sure, you can specify the directory or you can just be a lazy bum and navigate to the directory and simply run ncdu without any flags at all.

If you run it in your home directory, it’ll just be the files that belong to you. But, you can navigate to any directory and just run the command. In your home folder, it might look a little something like this:

ncdu showing the directories in order of tile size.
See? It should be pretty self explanatory from here on out. Navigation is easy.

To navigate, you just use your arrow keys. Up and down to pick the directory, forward and backward to enter and exit the directories. For example, when I dig down into my VirtualBox virtual machines directory, I get a screen that’s even more informative. Like this:

ncdu showing the directories in order of tile size.
As you can see, you can dig down quite nicely and find the file sizes.

Anyhow, I’m sure you can figure this out. Use your arrow buttons and explore. Heck, go to the root directory and explore your system until you’re happy and content! Trust me on this one,  you have the capacity to figure this out.

Now, before I go, I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t strongly suggest you read the actual man page. There’s a whole lot more to this tool. Using it this way is kinda like using a hammer to bake cookies, or some other horrible analogy. But, it does work. It does give you the information you need. Best of all, it does it without any necessary complexity.

Closure:

And there it is! Yet another article is said and done. This one will show you how to use ncdu in the terminal to find large files. If you’re ever unable to use a GUI, this is an excellent tool to determine file sizes. You never know when you’ll need such a tool.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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