How to find files that are eating up disk space

Barry Byrne barry.byrne at
Wed Dec 17 17:28:21 UTC 2008


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-questions at 
> [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at] On Behalf Of John Almberg
> Sent: 17 December 2008 17:17
> To: freebsd-questions at
> Subject: How to find files that are eating up disk space
> Here is another newbie question that is driving me crazy, but is  
> probably a laughable situation to an experienced admin...
> I've got a smallish server that is suddenly out of disk space in the  
> '/' partition.
> Probably some log files have gotten out of hand. I am going to start  
> looking for the culprits by hand... basically inspecting sub  
> directories, but there must be a better way!
> Is there a command line tool that will help me figure out where the  
> problem is?
> Even better, is there a way to proactively monitor the file system,  
> so I can fix problems before I start getting 'out of disk 
> space' errors?
> Any hints, much appreciated.
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As a start you might want to look at the 'du' command.

man du

for more info.

But for a quick start: 

du -x -d2 -h /

should give you some useful info.

You generally shouldn't have much writing to the / partition, unless you
haven't greated a separate /var partition, which is recommended.

 - barry

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