Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Ubuntu server shows me that I use allmost all disk:

Usage of /:   95.5% of 118.12GB

And I try to find big folders and files, run ncdu:

ncdu 1.8 ~ Use the arrow keys to navigate, press ? for help                                                                                                                                                 
--- / ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    5.5GiB [##########] /root                                                                                                                                                                               
    2.3GiB [####      ] /var
  628.6MiB [#         ] /usr
  209.9MiB [          ] /lib
   28.2MiB [          ] /boot
    8.6MiB [          ] /bin
    7.7MiB [          ] /sbin
    6.6MiB [          ] /etc
  208.0KiB [          ] /run
  112.0KiB [          ] /tmp
   48.0KiB [          ] /opt
e  16.0KiB [          ] /lost+found
    8.0KiB [          ] /dev
    8.0KiB [          ] /media
    4.0KiB [          ] /lib64
e   4.0KiB [          ] /srv
e   4.0KiB [          ] /selinux
e   4.0KiB [          ] /mnt
e   4.0KiB [          ] /home
    0.0  B [          ] /proc
    0.0  B [          ] /sys
@   0.0  B [          ]  initrd.img
@   0.0  B [          ]  vmlinuz

According to ncdu I use about 10 GiB of 128 GiB - it is about 10 %. Contradiction.

How to clean my ubutntu server without rebooting?

I thought that ncdu lies and used another apps to find big files and folders. All of them shows the same result as ncdu.

And df -h command shows that disk is full.

# df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/xvda       119G  113G     0 100% /
udev            2.0G  8.0K  2.0G   1% /dev
tmpfs           788M  212K  788M   1% /run
none            5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none            2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /run/shm


sudo du -sch /* result:

/# sudo du -sch /*
8.7M    /bin
29M /boot
8.0K    /dev
6.6M    /etc
4.0K    /home
0   /initrd.img
210M    /lib
4.0K    /lib64
16K /lost+found
8.0K    /media
4.0K    /mnt
48K /opt
du: cannot access `/proc/4470/task/4470/fd/4': No such file or directory
du: cannot access `/proc/4470/task/4470/fdinfo/4': No such file or directory
du: cannot access `/proc/4470/fd/4': No such file or directory
du: cannot access `/proc/4470/fdinfo/4': No such file or directory
0   /proc
5.0G    /root
212K    /run
7.8M    /sbin
4.0K    /selinux
4.0K    /srv
0   /sys
112K    /tmp
629M    /usr
2.3G    /var
0   /vmlinuz
8.1G    total

8.1G total as usual. But I see cannot access rows, maybe problem because of them.

Then I checked the biggest folder in /. It is /root :

/# sudo du -sch /root/*
96K /root/Downloads
2.5G    /root/Dropbox
36K /root/nohup.out
4.0K    /root/npm-debug.log
4.0K    /root/readonly
980K    /root/redis-2.6.16.tar.gz
228M    /root/tmp
2.7G    total
share|improve this question
Just a thought, might check the contents of /var/log/ to see if any logs have grown expotenially. – Mordoc Jan 31 '14 at 4:50
/var/log is about 2 GiB. It is ok – Maxim Yefremov Jan 31 '14 at 4:53
Try du -sch /* to see which root directories are using the most space, and descend from there into the places using the most space. – DopeGhoti Jan 31 '14 at 5:21
@DopeGhoti I tried but saw the same about 8.1 GiB full (added this to update). Cannot figure out where is the rest about 100 GiB – Maxim Yefremov Jan 31 '14 at 5:36
I know you don't want to, but bite the bullet and reboot. – douggro Jan 31 '14 at 8:23

I was running into this same issue on our lab machines and using this command

du -sch .[!.]* * |sort -h

I was able to find hidden files like inside of users trash bins that they had yet to delete.

Credit to here where I originally found this answer.

share|improve this answer

Following command will show disk utilization for /home directory with --max-depth=1

user@linux:~$ sudo du -h -d 1 /
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.