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~ben true disk usage tools and guidelines tips and tricks for keeping track of your disk usage on and elsewhere [main]

files tend to keep growing and growing until you run out of disk space all of a sudden.

let's take a look at some tools to keep an eye on disk usage. guidelines

even though we have plenty of disk space to go around on, we request that you keep your usage below 1 gb.

a good rule of thumb is to consider if all teammates were to use the same amount of resources and how that would affect the experience for everyone else.

as of march 2022, disk quotas will now be enforced. 1gb soft limit where you will get reminded. 3gb hard limit where you will no longer be able to write more files.

admins regularly take a look at disk usage in /home and may request that you delete large or unnecessary files.

please check with admins if you expect to use a lot of disk for a short period of time so we can adjust your quota temporarily.

handy tools


run quota to see your current usage and grace period (if you're over). add -s to print using friendlier units.


du (short for disk usage) is the go-to tool.

common switches include:

  • -h: human readable
  • -s: summarize
  • -c: total


to see the disk usage of the current directory, run: du -sh

check the manpage for more information and additional switches


ncdu (short for ncurses disk usage) is extremely useful for visualizing disk usage.

call ncdu with no args to recurse starting in the current directory or pass a dir name to start there

try it on your $HOME and see which files and dirs are taking up the most space.

press ? to see additional keybinds once you've started it up. you can change the sort order, open a shell, and delete files without closing the program.


df (short for disk free) lists mounted disks with usage, free space, and capacity. try it out from your shell to get a quick glance at total disk usage

don't forget to use -h to get human readable units.