• How Do I Find The Largest Top 10 Files and Directories On a Linux UNIX BSD?

How do I find the largest top files and directories on a Linux or Unix like operating systems?

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Sometime it is necessary to find out what file(s) or directories are eating up all your disk space. Further, it may be necessary to find out it at the particular location such as /tmp or /var or /home.

There is no simple command available to find out the largest files/directories on a Linux/UNIX/BSD filesystem. However, combination of following three commands (using pipes) you can easily find out list of largest files: Tutorial details
Difficulty Easy (rss) Root privileges No Requirements None Estimated completion time 1m

du command : Estimate file space usage.
sort command : Sort lines of text files or given input data.
head command : Output the first part of files i.e. to display first 10 largest file.
find command : Search file.

Type the following command at the shell prompt to find out top 10 largest file/directories: # du -a /var | sort -n -r | head -n 10

Sample outputs:

1008372 /var 313236 /var/www 253964 /var/log 192544 /var/lib 152628 /var/spool 152508 /var/spool/squid 136524 /var/spool/squid/00 95736 /var/log/mrtg.log 74688 /var/log/squid 62544 /var/cache

If you want more human readable output try: $ cd /path/to/some/where $ du -hsx * | sort -rh | head -10


du command -h option : display sizes in human readable format (e.g., 1K, 234M, 2G).
du command -s option : show only a total for each argument (summary).
du command -x option : skip directories on different file systems.
sort command -r option : reverse the result of comparisons.
sort command -h option : compare human readable numbers. This is GNU sort specific option only.
head command -10 OR -n 10 option : show the first 10 lines.

The above command will only work of GNU/sort is installed. Other Unix like operating system should use the following version (see comments below):

for i in G M K; do du -ah | grep [0-9]$i | sort -nr -k 1; done | head -n 11

Sample outputs:

179M    .
84M ./uploads
57M ./images
51M ./images/faq
49M ./images/faq/2013
48M ./uploads/cms

37M ./videos/faq/2013/12 37M ./videos/faq/2013 37M ./videos/faq 37M ./videos 36M ./uploads/faq

Find the largest file in a directory and its subdirectories using the find command

Type the following GNU/find command:

Warning: only works with GNU find

find /path/to/dir/ -printf '%s %p\n'| sort -nr | head -10
find . -printf '%s %p\n'| sort -nr | head -10

Sample outputs:

5700875 ./images/faq/2013/11/iftop-outputs.gif
5459671 ./videos/faq/2013/12/glances/glances.webm
5091119 ./videos/faq/2013/12/glances/glances.ogv

4706278 ./images/faq/2013/09/cyberciti.biz.linux.wallpapers_r0x1.tar.gz 3911341 ./videos/faq/2013/12/vim-exit/vim-exit.ogv 3640181 ./videos/faq/2013/12/python-subprocess/python-subprocess.webm 3571712 ./images/faq/2013/12/glances-demo-large.gif 3222684 ./videos/faq/2013/12/vim-exit/vim-exit.mp4 3198164 ./videos/faq/2013/12/python-subprocess/python-subprocess.ogv 3056537 ./images/faq/2013/08/debian-as-parent-distribution.png.bak

You can skip directories and only display files, type:

find /path/to/search/ -type f -printf '%s %p\n'| sort -nr | head -10


find /path/to/search/ -type f -iname "*.mp4" -printf '%s %p\n'| sort -nr | head -10

This article was last modified: May 11, 2016, 3:15 p.m.

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