What explains the discrepancy in usage (82 GB vs 13 GB) that I see below?

  • Using df:

    $ df -h /
    Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/sda2              96G   82G  9.9G  90% /
  • Using du:

    $ sudo du -cshx /
    13G     /
    13G     total
  • 2
    Maybe you have 69 gigs of data in a subdirectory that got mounted over where du can't see it? – Shadur Apr 11 '17 at 13:48
  • 2
    Might be because of files that were deleted but are still kept open by some process; you should try lsof +L1. – user2233709 Apr 11 '17 at 13:48
  • 2
    Relevant: unix.stackexchange.com/questions/120311/… – terdon Apr 11 '17 at 13:54
  • 1
    If the filesystem is btrfs things can get messy. – StrongBad Apr 11 '17 at 13:56

-x option is a false friend as its purpose is to skip things. That option never gives you the complete picture.

To get a complete listing, use bind mounts and then du, ncdu, xdiskusage, baobab or whatever you wish on the bound directory without skip options:

mkdir /mnt/root
mount --bind / /mnt/root
ncdu /mnt/root

Then you might discover you have lots of stuff in /mnt/backup (because it wasn't mounted when the backup task ran), or a giant file in /dev (result of a dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx when no /dev/sdx existed and no tmpfs was mounted in /dev).

It could also be a deleted file still used by a process, but people don't usually ask about it as it's gone after reboot. It could also be a filesystem inconsistency, but that too would be gone after reboot (if it forces fsck in the process).

  • Thanks! Rebooting the machine did it +1. Interesting that du "loses" track of space until I restarted the machine – Amelio Vazquez-Reina Apr 11 '17 at 14:38
  • 1
    @AmelioVazquez-Reina The usual reason is that there's a large deleted file that some process still has open. The file contents don't go away until the process closes it, but du can't count it because it just traverses the directory. – Barmar May 22 '17 at 19:56

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