Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm running a dual booted Windows 7 with Linux Mint right now and I just checked my filesystem size and it jumped from quite small (about 30 GB) to 200 GB recently (no clue what triggered this, I just casually noticed it today). I can't figure out what is causing this. Here is what I have tried.

$ df

Filesystem     1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5      327455500 195173172 115641816  63% /
none                   4         0         4   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
udev             2990264         4   2990260   1% /dev
tmpfs             601500      1940    599560   1% /run
none                5120         0      5120   0% /run/lock
none             3007492      7108   3000384   1% /run/shm
none              102400        36    102364   1% /run/user

$ sudo du /home | sort -rn | more
188966356   /home
188966352   /home/david
7361816 /home/david/Music
7361812 /home/david/Music/Music
6451008 /home/david/Dropbox
2869284 /home/david/Dropbox/Camera Uploads
2125920 /home/david/Dropbox/Photos
1301432 /home/david/Dropbox/CheapTixDownload
1132260 /home/david/Dropbox/Photos/EVERYTHING DAVATIE
684044  /home/david/Dropbox/Photos/Camera Uploads
561428  /home/david/.cache
492288  /home/david/.cache/google-chrome
492284  /home/david/.cache/google-chrome/Default
432896  /home/david/.cache/google-chrome/Default/Cache
302268  /home/david/Music/Music/Franz Ferdinand Complete Studio   
264748  /home/david/Music/Music/Growlers
247924  /home/david/Downloads
199368  /home/david/Music/Music/GROWLERS

And after that it tapers off quite a bit (as you can see). So I can't imagine that it all adds up to 200 GB. The only packages I can think of that I recently installed were TexMaker but I had Tex and Lyx before and the space was still reasonable.

I've also tried

sudo apt-get autoremove  
sudo apt-get clean  
sudo apt-get autoclean 

Any clue as to what is causing this all?

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted
ls -alh /home/david

Probably there is at least one huge file.

share|improve this answer
ls -alh there may be hidden contents about. I'd start with du -sk /home/david/* first. – Ricky Beam Feb 20 '14 at 5:41
Yup. .xsession-errors is it. I assume its safe to remove? And how do I avoid it from reappearing in the future? – DavidR Feb 20 '14 at 5:54
@RickyBeam /home/david/* as in "there may be hidden contents"? – Hauke Laging Feb 20 '14 at 6:09
@DavidR You should solve the problem .xsession-errors reports... And you may remove it (with one backup) every day or every hour. BTW: The fun begins when the disk runs full due to that... – Hauke Laging Feb 20 '14 at 6:11
@DavidR - I've gotten burned by that file as well. – slm Feb 20 '14 at 13:25

If you don't know what files consume your disk space, use ncdu. It's a text disk analyzer, and it looks like this:

enter image description here

You can press enter to investigate directories in the directory tree.

share|improve this answer

du lists directories, not individual files (unless you do du *). There are either many, many subdirectories in your home directory that add up to the full 200GB, or, more likely, some very large files in your home directory.

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=sample bs=500M count=1
1+0 records in
1+0 records out
524288000 bytes (524 MB) copied, 0.894554 s, 586 MB/s
$ mkdir subdir
$ dd if=/dev/zero of=subdir/file2 bs=500M count=1
1+0 records in
1+0 records out
524288000 bytes (524 MB) copied, 0.6517 s, 804 MB/s
$ du $PWD
512008  /tmp/116046/subdir
1024016 /tmp/116046
$ du $PWD/*
512004  /tmp/116046/sample
512008  /tmp/116046/subdir
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.