This is probably something basic but I'm not able to make it work. I'm trying to use DU to get a total size of files minus certain directories. I need to exclude one specific directory called uploads but not every directory called uploads. For example, my file structure looks a bit like this:


I can run the following command:

du -ch --exclude=uploads* 

and it gives me the file size minus all the "uploads" directories. However, in trying to exclude certain directories (and all its sub-directories) I fail. I've tried variations of:

du -ch --exclude=./uploads*
du -ch --exclude='/full/path/to/uploads/*'

but can't seem to figure it out. How do I exclude a specific directory?

  • username: store$ du -ch --exclude=./uploads worked (with and without the wildcard) for me, from within the store directory. Are you running that command exactly and from within the store folder? And it has to be the relative path (that find sees/prints), not absolute.
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 18:19

7 Answers 7


You've almost found it :)

du -ch --exclude=./relative/path/to/uploads

Note no asterisk at the end. The asterisk means all subdirectories under "upload" should be omitted - but not the files directly in that directory.

  • 7
    Strange... syntax with dot (du -sb --exclude=./relative/path/to/uploads) doesn't work for me. This does: du -sb --exclude relative/path/to/uploads
    – Nux
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 17:01
  • 8
    @Nux probably your flavor of du. Mine (OSX) doesn't even have --exclude, instead it has -I mask to "Ignore files and directories matching the specified mask." In your working example you also omit the =, making me further think it's just your version of du being slightly dufferent.
    – phatskat
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 15:51
  • Yes [OSX][1] version seems quite more simplified version of [Linux du][2]. [1]: developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/Darwin/Reference/… [2]: linux.die.net/man/1/du
    – Nux
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 14:53
  • What if I want to exclude multiple directories for example here excluding directories junk_to_ignore and uploads directories? Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 8:35
  • 2
    Why does it work with a relative path, but not an absolute path? Very odd!
    – Nick
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 16:55

To exclude multiple directories, just pass the --exclude flag again.

du -ch --exclude=relative/path/to/uploads --exclude other/path/to/exclude
  • 14
    you ca also use du -ch --exclude={relative/path/to/uploads,other/path/to/exclude} Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 10:43

Awesome, to skip the virtual file systems do this:

du -hsx --exclude=/{proc,sys,dev,run} /*
  • 1
    This is exactly what I needed! I was trying to inspect a docker container while ignoring volumes/bind mounts.
    – antou
    Commented Apr 11 at 9:30

To exclude multiple folders

du -ch --exclude={path/to/folder1,path/to_folder2/,...,}
  • hi, what if we want to exclude all sub-folder? only count files that direct children to current directory.
    – Permana
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 3:28

If you have to be on macOS, you install GNU Coreutils with the following command.

brew install coreutils

Most of the commands installed by Coreutils are prefixed by g, since they have a BSD namesake preinstalled on macOS. Then you can do the following.

gdu --exclude=Microsoft /Library/Fonts/

Just adding a Mac example

du -skI "Downloads" -I "Caches" -I "Logs" -I "OneDrive" .

I do not see a way to use the -I with a path, so for example, I haven't gotten

du -skI "Downloads" -I "Caches" -I "Logs" -I "OneDrive" -I "Library/Application Support"  .

to work. May be possible, but I haven't gotten it yet.


To get the total size of files in files/ excluding all sub-directories

du -ch path/to/files --exclude=path/to/files/*/*

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