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My home directory is getting huge (100GB plus). When backupping it I notices that there are quite some caches there.

Which important caches are there in my homedir and how should I clean them?

One cache in particular is bothering me, the cache in .gvfs, where a copy of my network harddisk seems to be stored. How do I neatly clear this cache?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

The .gvfs is where network attached folders live. If you've used "Places/Connect to Server", or typed smb://server/share into Natuilus, that's where your network drive will "mount".

You need to exclude your .gvfs folder from your back up, unless you actually want your network drive and all its contents to be included in your back up.

Other places you should consider excluding :

  • ~/.mozilla/**yourprofilename**/Cache
  • ~/.cache (this is also where Chromium puts its cache, if you use that instead of firefox)
  • ~/.thumbnails

Others to consider :

  • if you use VirtualBox, your guest systems are likely stored in .VirtualBox. On the one hand, you'll want to back those up. On the other, they'll be huge, so maybe you should back them up separately from your generic home drive backup?
  • if you use Dropbox, you'll probably not have much need to back that up! Exclude wherever you told Dropbox to put its folder.

Finally, you can do some of this analysis yourself! Go to your Applications menu and choose Accessories, then run "Disk Usage Analyser". Once it's running, press CTRL-S to start an analysis of your home folder, sorted by size.

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Are you certain that .gvfs actually includes COPY of your network hard disk or it is it just mounting point. Try to unmount those hard disks and check what it says it's size after that.

Think flash and browsers saves their caches to your home folder. Those are best to clear through browser's tools.

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How can I see if it are mounting points in .gvfs and how can I unmount? – Peter Smit Oct 10 '10 at 11:42
Run mount in the terminal to list all mounted partitions, gvfs will be there somewhere. To unmount, sudo umount ~/.gvfs, assuming that's where it is mounted. – evgeny Oct 10 '10 at 11:45
Or just open nautilus (file browser) and click eject buttons on those disks. – eXlin Oct 10 '10 at 11:53

For this purpose I have a cron task that runs every 10 minutes executing BleachBit in the command-line mode silently. :)

See my crontab listing:

*/10 * * * * bleachbit_cli --delete amule.logs apt.autoclean chromium.cache easytag.logs evolution.cache firefox.cache firefox.download_history flash.cache flash.cookies kde.cache kde.tmp openofficeorg.cache opera.cache opera.download_history pidgin.cache system.cache system.recent_documents system.tmp thumbnails.cache wine.tmp

I configured it with gnome-schedule GUI. You can run bleachbit_cli --list-cleaners to choose which cleaners you wan't to execute. ;)

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I'm sorry, but it sounds plain stupid to clean your caches every 10 minutes. They have a reason to use caches, performance! – Peter Smit Dec 22 '10 at 4:31
A lot of these items (Chromium cache, thumbnails, etc) can be turned off by changing their gconf-editor settings. Running such a job every 10 minutes is likely to impact performance. And why? If you're that concerned with privacy, run an encrypted home, turn caching off and use ToR. This crontab seems very excessive. – Scaine Mar 6 '11 at 21:41
You should actually start a question on this site, community wiki, like "How do I ensure the privacy of my session?" or something similar. – Scaine Mar 6 '11 at 21:41

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