Yet Another Way To Check Filesystem Space Use

Many tools do the same thing in Linux and this is just another way to check filesystem space use. This one isn’t all that special, it’s just another way. If you want to check your filesystem usage (basically, how much free space you have used on your storage devices) this article can help you with that.

This shouldn’t be a long article. I’ve written others on the topic. It’s safe to assume that you know what a filesystem is. It’s the system your hardware uses to store data if you don’t know. There are many types, from Ext3 to ExFAT. They are all filesystems used to store data.

It should go without saying that you can fill up your storage space and might want to know how much space you have available. Well, if you want to find that information, this is an article for you!

This is another application. There are others.

Monitor Disk Usage With GDU
Show Disk Usage With ‘ncdu’
How To: Check Disk Usage With ‘df’

Those are just a few applications that will let you monitor your filesystem’s usage. I’m sure I’ve covered others.

This pydf is a Python script, but we’ll be using Lubunt and installing pydf just like we’d install any other application, albeit in the terminal. I will point out that pydf has a colored output, which is nice.

I can’t say that this pydf is available in other distros, but it’s available in Lubuntu. As Lubuntu is Ubuntu, that means it’s available in Ubuntu. It is also likely available in Debian. I think you’ll find that pydf is also available in the downstream distros like Linux Mint. I did provide a link above that will take you to the project page.

Check Filesystem Space Usage:

As I’ve done the work in Lubuntu, these directions will be for Lubuntu. You can adapt them easily. In Lubuntu, you can open the terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T on your keyboard. That will open the default terminal.

With your terminal now open, you can install pydf with the following command:

If you want to check the man page (say with man pydf), you’ll find that there isn’t one. If you’d like to view the pydf’s help file, try this command:

Once you’ve done that, you’ll see that using pydf is quite simple. If you just want to run the program to check filesystem space use, then just run it in the terminal like so:

If you want the output in ‘human-readable’ format, you can add a -h flag where bits are divided by 1024, or -H which means bits are divided by 1000. The choice is up to you.

Likewise, if you want to see even the zero-byte filesystems (the special filesystems that you don’t work directly with), you’d run this command:

Additionally, there’s a -l flag that limits the output to just the local filesystems. If I combine them for my preferred output, I get this:

Here’s an example output:

As you can see, there are a bunch of loop devices which are Snaps, which is perfectly normal for many Ubuntu-based systems. You can also see that I’ve used slightly more than half of my drive space and clever observers would notice that the drive is an NVMe SSD.

Closure:

So, that was a quick and easy article about how you can check filesystem space use, specifically in Lubuntu but easily applied to other distros. There are many ways to accomplish this task in Linux, which means this is just one among many such tools. It shouldn’t take too long to learn how to use pydf if that’s the tool you want to use.

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Show Your Filesystem In The Linux Terminal

Today is going to be a good day if you have decided that you want to show your filesystem in the Linux terminal. If that’s not what you want to do, this might not be the article for you! If it is what you want to do, read on!

I’m going to try to keep this fairly short. There are two commands that I have available to help you show your filesystem in the Linux terminal. There are surely other ways to do so, but I’ll just cover two different ways.

Both of them will be quite simple…

These two commands should be fairly standard. They should work in your distro, regardless of which distro you’ve chosen. There’s nothing special about them.

What do I mean when I say ‘show your filesystem in the Linux terminal’? I mean you can see, and identify, your various drives and their partitions. You can also learn a bit more information about them, but the general idea is that you can see and learn about them in the terminal.

Like I said, this won’t be fairly complicated. It will involve the terminal.

Show Your Filesystem In The Linux Terminal:

Yes, I said the terminal. You will need an open terminal. If you want to open your default terminal, you can usually just press CTRL + ALT + T. That will open your default terminal more often than not. Otherwise, open it from your terminal.

Now, to get to the point… I’m going to show you a couple of commands that you can use to show your filesystem in the Linux terminal. 

Ready?

lsblk:

The first tool we’ll use is lsblk. This is installed by default on any major distro and you won’t need to install anything. If you check the man page, you’ll see that lsblk is described like this:

lsblk – list block devices

That command sounds useful. Block devices are disks, drives, partitions, and the like. So, you can just run that command in the terminal. It looks like this:

The output is easy enough to understand. It might look something like this:

That’s with a bunch of junk still plugged in from a previous article. You can see that the output is easy enough to understand.

df:

The next command we’re going to use is the ‘df’ command. Again, you shouldn’t need to install anything to use the df command. This is something that should already be installed and if you want to use it to show your filesystem type in the Linux terminal, it’s quite easy.

First, you should check the man page. If you do, you’ll see that df is described as:

df – report file system disk space usage

Once again, that sounds like a fine tool for learning about your filesystem. You’ll want two flags. The first flag is -T and will show you the file system type. The second flag is -h and that means it’ll spit the output in human-readable form. An example of that command would look like:

An example output would look like this:

Again, that’s nice and easy to understand. If you want to show your filesystem information, these commands are easily memorized.

You’ll notice that both output is quite similar, as it should be. There are only so many filesystems available in the distro I used to write this. This information can be quite a bit more complicated if you’re running it against a NAS with lots of different storage options, but it’s generally easy enough to understand.

Closure:

There you go… This isn’t even a very long article – because it doesn’t need to be. I wanted to show you how to show your filesystem information in the Linux terminal. None of these commands are all that difficult to use and remember. You can also get some useful information from the mount | grep "^/dev" command, so keep that in mind along with the commands shown in this article.

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Find The Last Filesystem Check

If you’ve been using Linux for any time, you may have done a filesystem check and today we’ll find out when you did the last filesystem check with the Linux terminal. This may seem a little complicated, at least at the start, but it should be relatively easy. New Linux users should be able to follow along as we try to make Linux more approachable.

Disks have corruption after a while. Given enough time and data, a filesystem check is likely. Fortunately, Linux has many tools that will help you verify the integrity of your data. These tools are generally installed by default, so we shouldn’t need to install any new tools in this tutorial.

The article will have been tested in Lubuntu. The directions in this article are going to work with Ubuntu, official Ubuntu flavors, Linux Mint, ElementaryOS, and many more distros. I’d say they’re fairly generic instructions and that all these tools will be installed by default in most major distros.

You need good data health. This isn’t about hardware health as much as you’d learn from S.M.A.R.T data, it’s about the integrity of your data. You might use the information from this article to decide to run an fdisk command or two. Of course, you might also be interested in one of my more popular articles:

Repair Your Linux Filesystem With a Live USB or DVD

What we’re going to do is find out when the last filesystem check. What you do with that information is up to you. 

We will be using some tools…

lsblk:

The first tool we’ll be using is one of the default Linux tools. The name of that tool is lsblk. You can verify that lsblk is installed with the following command:

The output should look similar to this:

If you run man lsblk in the terminal, you’ll find that it’s described as this:

lsblk – list block devices

We’ll be using this lsblk command to identify drive names. It’s not complicated and you’ll be able to follow along easily enough. I’m sure of it!

tune2fs:

We’ll also be using the tune2fs command in this exercise. As far as I can tell, tune2fs doesn’t have a formal version flag. If you run a typical version command against it, it does spit out the version but it also spits out some usage information. So, that will do for verifying that you do indeed have tune2fs installed. You can run this command:

The output will look weird, but it’ll confirm that tune2fs is installed. 

Of course, the man page describes tune2fs like this:

tune2fs – adjust tunable file system parameters on ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystems

While that might not seem useful, it is. We’ll be using it to get those system parameters to find out when you did the last system check. Trust me! It’ll come in handy.

We’ll also be using a pipe and grep, but we’ve used those many times before.

Find Your Last Filesystem Check:

If it’s not obvious, we’ll be using the terminal for this. So, press CTRL + ALT + T and let’s get this party started.

The first thing you do is you want to identify the name of the drive. Don’t blame me for calling it the name. That’s what the command outputs. That’s what I’m calling it. The command for this is nice and simple, just run this command:

I plugged a bunch of stuff in, so an example output might look like this:

Next, your command looks like this:

This isn’t always going to spit out the right information. If a drive isn’t an EXT* formatted partition/drive, it’s not going to spit out any useful information. There will be no information if you try to use it with your EFI partition, for example.

An example EFI command and output might be:

On the other hand, an example of a good output might be like this:

As you can see, that was checked just a couple of months ago.

Alternatively, as I plugged some rather random stuff into the USB ports, you might see something as old as this:

That’s been a minute or two since the last filesystem check.

If you’re using an NVMe M.2 SSD, this will still work:

So, it’s not all that difficult to find out when you did your last filesystem check.

Closure:

Careful observation may show you that the site has changed a little. There’s now a way to do sponsorship, seeing as I get asked so many times. Nobody ever follows through, but I have had some contact with a couple of agencies. You may start seeing sponsored content soon. Feel free to about sponsoring Linux-Tips if you want.

As for the article, it’s just another easy enough article. I hope I’ve distilled it down enough to make it approachable for even the newest Linux users. It may be good to check to see when you performed your last file system check. If you have data in cold storage, you may want to check that now and again and check your filesystem’s health once in a while. The goal is to prevent data loss through corruption and this should help with that.

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Repair Your Linux Filesystem With a Live USB or DVD

It’s possible for your filesystem to become so corrupted that you can’t repair it easily. In that case, you can repair your Linux filesystem with a live USB or DVD.

Your filesystem may become corrupted for any number of reasons. One of the most common reasons is an improper shutdown, where your filesystem doesn’t have time to properly write everything to disk because it wasn’t shut down properly. You might see that sort of thing when you suffer from a power outage. 

There are any number of reasons why your filesystem will have become corrupted and, in most instances, your system will automatically repair your Linux filesystem when you boot your computer.

It’s also possible that a simple boot won’t repair your Linux filesystem. In that case, your OS probably has some sort of recovery mode and you can use that mode to repair your filesystem. 

Once in a while, your filesystem may have become so corrupted that you can’t fix it in recovery mode because you can’t get to recovery mode to fix it. Not to worry. This is something you can easily do with a live USB or DVD.

This article assumes you already have a USB or DVD with an OS that runs live. I’ll use Ubuntu as the example OS, as it’s really common. Adjust for your distro and you’ll be okay.

Here’s a link if you need to know how to access your temporary boot menu

NOTE: If you’re using Btrfs, you shouldn’t need to run fsck, it should heal itself. If not, here are Btrfs-specific commands that you should learn.

Repair Your Linux Filesystem:

The first thing you’re going to do is boot to the USB or DVD. You’ll need to be patient as the live instance loads into RAM. Once the OS has loaded to a GUI, you’ll want to select “Try Ubuntu”. (Remember to adjust that for your own distro, should you not be using Ubuntu.)

Again, this will take a minute – especially on older hardware. Eventually, the GUI will load and you’ll have a functional live instance running. If you needed to use nomodeset, acpi=off, or anything similar, you’ll probably also need to use those things to get the live instance of Linux running.

The tool we’re going to use is known as ‘fsck‘, which is a tool in and of itself and a front end for other tools. fsck interacts with more specific tools for your specific filesystem, but that’s not important right now. 

If you’re curious, fsck stands for ‘file system consistency check‘ and the man page helpfully describes it as:

fsck – check and repair a Linux filesystem

Now that you have a functional live desktop, it’s time to repair your Linux filesystem. The first step is, as is often the case, opening up your terminal. You can use your keyboard to do this, just press CTRL + ALT + T and a terminal should pop right up.

At this point, you’ll want to identify the correct disk. To do that, you run:

You’ll want to identify the disk where you installed Linux. That’s the disk that has the corrupted filesystem that is preventing you from booting. It’s often something like ‘/dev/sda1’ or maybe even ‘/dev/nvme0n1p1’.

Once you have the disk identified, it’s time to repair your Linux filesystem. Enter this:

NOTE: Change the /dev/sda* to match the data from the fdisk command you ran earlier.

That ‘fsck’ command should find and fix any errors automatically. If you really know what you’re doing, you can run ‘fsck’ manually and maybe do a better job than the automatic method. Then again, if you know that much then I’d suspect you don’t actually need this article.

This shouldn’t take very long to run, unless there were a whole lot of errors. Next, all you need to do is reboot and you should find that you were able to successfully repair your Linux filesystem. To do that from the terminal, you can just type:

When prompted, remove the disk from the drive and press the ENTER button.

Closure:

There you have it, another way to run fsck and to repair your Linux filesystem when it is broken. This method works even when the recovery mode will have worked.

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