Linux desktops have many utilities to view disk usage. These utilities gives us information on what programs or files use large chunks of disk space. Here we show you some of the best apps to view disk usage in Linux.
Note: if you prefer command line tools, we have an extensive list of CLI tools to find large files in Linux.
1. Disk Usage Analyzer (Baobab)
Disk Usage Analyzer or Baobab is a GUI tool that comes preinstalled with many popular Linux distributions. If you are using the Gnome desktop environment, then Baobab is already preinstalled on your system.
In addition to local disk usage, Disk Usage Analyzer can also view remote disks mounted on your system. You can see the disk usage in a very intuitive spherical graph.
Disk Usage Analyzer is available in most distribution repositories. For Ubuntu-based distributions, use the following command to install Disk Usage Analyzer.
sudo apt update sudo apt install baobab
If you are using a Fedora distribution, you should run the following command:
sudo dnf install baobab
If you would like to have a distribution independent Flatpak version, you can with the following command
flatpak install flathub org.gnome.baobab
Filelight is a GUI app made specially for KDE desktop environments. This is a cross-platform application made with Qt framework. If you are using Windows, you can also install this software on your system.
Filelight is mainly used to display disk usage in your device. It allows users to see specifically where their disk space is used. In addition to local storage, you can scan your remote storage (servers) using Filelight. The application looks very good, and you can set its color scheme to your liking.
You can navigate the filesystem using mouse clicks and find information about any files and folders when hovering on the storage graph. You can directly copy or paste a file inside the Filelight software using the context menu. This feature is very handy in some instances when you have to copy-paste iles from one location to another.
If you click on any directory, it will center the view there. You can launch an app by clicking on files to associate with that software/ app. Hit on the middle click to open files/directories with your file browser. If you want to see more details about your file structure, increase the window size. If you want to scan a directory during startup, you can specify it using the Filelight CLI. Just pass on your desired directory and Filelight will automatically scan your directory on startup.
For any Debian or Ubuntu derivatives, Filelight is present in your package repository. You can easily install it with this command:
sudo apt update sudo apt install filelight
If you are using Fedora, you can install Filelight using the dnf package manager.
sudo dnf install filelight
Duc is a very powerful tool to inspect and visualize disk space. Duc is quite reliable for petabytes of data stored in your servers or home NAS. In every run, duc indexes all your file and folder sizes, then maintains a database of sizes of your files and directories of your filesystem. Therefore, you can create your own tool to query the data generated by duc or create beautiful storage graphs using duc.
Before we installing it, let’s install all the dependencies duc need to function properly. For Debian and Ubuntu based distributions:
sudo apt-get install libncursesw5-dev libcairo2-dev libpango1.0-dev build-essential
If you are using Fedora or Redhat Enterprise Linux, run
sudo yum install pango-devel cairo-devel tokyocabinet-devel
You can find duc in the official repositories of Debian and Ubuntu derivatives and can easily install duck with the following command.
sudo apt update sudo apt install duc
If you are using another distribution, there is no official package available for your system, but you can install them by downloading the source files from GitHub. After downloading, extract the archive and go inside the extracted directory, then execute using the following to install duc in your system.
./configure make sudo make install
If you want to index the “/usr” directory, run:
duc index /usr
This command scans your “/usr” directory and stores all the indexes with file sizes in a database for future reference. You can now list all the files and directories under the “/usr/local” directory in a tree viewer by running the following command:
duc ls -Fg -R /usr/local
Start the graphical user interface and see the sunburst graph using the following command:
duc gui /usr
Xdiskusage is a user-friendly software that shows the large files in your filesystem. It first uses du under the hood to generate all the report, then uses the data to generate a nice-looking chart for the user. In short, you can call xdiskusage a GUI tool for
Xdiskusage is present in the Ubuntu software repository. If you are using any Ubuntu derivative, you can install the software by simply running the following commands.
sudo apt update sudo apt install xdiskusage
If you are using another distribution, you have to download the executable from the official website and install it manually.
When you first open the application, you can see a list of filesystems connected to your device. If you click one of one, a detailed storage graph will be generated by the xdiskusage tool.
Jdiskreport helps the user learn how much storage is used on their disk and gives information about old files that are no longer used. It generates a variety of data points related to your filesystem. You can view all your filesystem-related information in the same window using Jdiskreport software.
This is a cross-platform tool that requires Java to run on your device. You can download the latest version of the software from its official website.
If you don’t have Java installed on your computer, you can install it with the following code:
sudo apt update sudo apt install default-jre
Qdirstat is a Qt-based application that scans and analyzes your filesystem. Qdirstat displays very important information about which files and folders consume the most device storage. You can easily identify and delete them after they’re identified.
This application is a Qt-only port of the old KDirStat application. While the older application has some dependency on the KDE desktop environment, this new Qdirapp application can run anywhere you want and is not tied to the KDE desktop.
Unlike other options, the Qdirstat application comes with a variety of new features. You can automatically clean up your system space with some predefined cleanup actions. You can easily categorize files with their MIME types to separate images from documents, documents from videos, etc.
This application is also capable of showing software packages and which application they belong to. Unlike other tools, Qdirstat can show you a histogram view of file sizes. You can also filter the files per age.
To install Qdirstat on your device, run the following commands.
sudo apt update sudo apt install qdirstat
You can see larger files with larger rectangles to easily differentiate the files that take up the most space.
GDMap is a lightweight GUI tool to show you which files consume your storage space. You can make a quick overview using the tree-map generated by GDMap software and tree-map any folder.
GD map is available in Ubuntu repositories and can be installed with the following command.
sudo apt update sudo apt install gdmap
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use these Disk Usage Analyzer apps in windows?
Yes, these Linux apps are compatible with the Windows subsystem for Linux. Since you can now run Linux GUI apps from WSL, these apps can be launched from the WSL terminal. To activate WSL in your Windows machine, you should have the Pro version of Windows installed.
How can I view connected disks in Linux?
The most popular option to work with disks in Linux is the gnome-disk-utility. Use it to not only view all the disks, but also format, change filesystems and make encrypted disks.
Alternatively, you can also view disks connected with your device using the file manager application. Open your file manager and click on the other location tab at the bottom to see all the disks connected to your device.
Image credit: Unsplash All screenshots by Hrishikesh Pathak
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