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How to know the size of a directory? Including subdirectories and files.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 77 down vote accepted
du -s directory_name

Or to get human readable output:

du -sh directory_name

The -s option means that it won't list the size for each subdirectory, only the total size.

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Actually du's default unit is 512-byte blocks according to POSIX, and kilobytes on Linux (unless the environment variable POSIXLY_CORRECT is set) or with du -k. – Gilles Oct 12 '10 at 17:49
@Gilles: Good catch. I've removed the "number of bytes" bit from my answer. – sepp2k Oct 12 '10 at 17:53
worked as prescribed – skidadon May 28 at 19:17
if the directory is very big and have lots of subdirectories, it takes lots of time... almost 1 min.. is that normal? is there a way to get the size more rapidly? – yeahman Oct 15 at 19:59

you can also use ls -ldh:

ls -ldh /etc drwxr-xr-x 145 root root 12K 2012-06-02 11:44 /etc

-l is for long listing ; -d is for displaying dir info, not the content of the dir, -h is for displaying size in huma readable format.

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This isn't correct, the person asking is clearly looking for footprint of a directory and it's contents on disk. @sepp2k's answer is correct. – blong Jun 5 '12 at 13:16

du takes a -b option

See the man page and the info page for more help:

-b, --bytes
          equivalent to '--apparent-size --block-size=1'
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I always install the "ncdu" package and see all the output of all directories with graphical representation. This is because I usually need to know what's taking up the most disk space on my machines, regardless of how much a single directory sums up.

Usage: sudo ncdu / (you can use it without sudo for for folder which you have read permissions for).

It will take a while to scan disk usage statistics on the whole file system. It has a nice command line graphical representation and included keyboard navigation using the arrow keys, like going deeper or higher in the scanned path. Also can delete selected items by pressing.

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While using a separate package such as ncdu may work well, the same comparison of many folders can be done, to some degree, by just giving du a list of folders to size up. For example to compare top-level directories on your system...

cd /    
sudo du -sh ./*
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More simply, du -sh /* – roaima Sep 10 at 17:00

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