Complete Ubuntu newbie here.

I'm installing Ubuntu 12.04 on an 11 year-old PC. Specs to my knowledge are:

Processor: Intel Pentium 4 2.0 GHz
RAM: 512 RAM
Motherboard: Asrock P4VM800
Video Card: ATi Radeon 9550 (250mb)
Hard Drive: Single, 160gb

That single hard drive is split into 2 partitions: 40 and 120 GB respectively. I use the 120GB partition for backing up pictures and documents. The 40GB partition once held Windows XP as the thing's primary OS. Both were set to NTFS.

On the Ubuntu setup, I chose "Something Else" because I just wanted to wipe out the 40gb partition while still using my 120GB partition as is.

I had read in a guide to leave some SWAP space available for the OS, preferably the same size as the physical RAM. So I created a 39.4GB partition for the OS (Primary, Beginning, EXT4) and allocated 600MB for the SWAP. The guide I read said that Linux would only take up 4.5GB of hard drive space, so I was pretty happy with that.

So, fast forward a little bit. The OS installs just fine. Now here's what gets me. I open up the Terminal and I see my leftover 120GB partition, with all my files still safe and intact. My real problem lies with the primary partition.

If Ubuntu supposedly uses up only 4.5GB of hard disk space, I should have 34.9GB free/leftover space in the primary partition. But, I can't find it! Where is it? In Windows, I know you can see how much space is used and your remaining free space in "Drive C". How can I find and access that remaining space in Ubuntu?

  • What do commands df -h and mount say, when you type them in terminal? – Milan Todorovic Apr 15 '13 at 19:15

The default graphical tool to analyze disk usage in 12.04 is baobab. You can run it from the Dash by searching for "Disk usage...". The utility will scan your entire filesystem of all mounted partitions to give you the available free space:

enter image description here

So in order to view the capacity and usage of your 40 GB Ubuntu partition you just dont mount your NTFS partition (or unmount if if you had mounted it) before you run baobab.

You can further display the disk usage in all directories when choosing "Scan Filesystem", or of your HOME directory only. This will then help to discover directories containing huge amounts of data.

enter image description here

From the command line (terminal) you can issue the following command:

df -a

To get a list of all mounted filesystems with their respective disk usage in 1k blocks and percent.

The reason we do not have such a clear cut disk usage display you may be used to have from Windows is that the Ubuntu file management is very different. For Ubuntu it does not really matter where your data are physically but where they are mounted. See this question for more:


You can use disk Usage Analyzer. Just type disk in dash, and click on it.

enter image description here

Once the window opens, you can click on scan folder, and it will give you detailed info of all the space being used.

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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