I selected "encrypt home partition" when I set up my netbook with Ubuntu. The disk usage analyzer now reports that twice as much space is taken up than actually is used. I have seen this question asked a few times, but the response typically tends to be along the lines of ".ecrypts/.Private are your actual home drive, and is encrypted, and the one that shows up as the home drive is virtual, it's not actually taking up hard drive space," which perfectly identifies the problem but is not helpful in fixing it.

Now, regardless of whether the hard drive is actually full, the system is treating it as full. I keep getting warnings that I have 10MB of space left; I can't update my dropbox folder; I can't move files around efficiently; the machine seems unhappy, etc. Is the only way to fix this to do the risky decryption procedure that involves permanently removing the home folder from the machine and possibly not being able to decrypt the backup? Or is there some way to fix the disk usage analyzer so that it doesn't count the virtual home folder along with the private folder? I would prefer to keep my data encrypted.


  • I have this same problem on 11.10. Help would be appreciated!
    – Ederico
    Nov 16, 2011 at 10:45
  • 1
    Duplicate? askubuntu.com/questions/14208/…
    – Agmenor
    Jun 5, 2012 at 20:11
  • 7 years later, running ubuntu 18.10 I am having similar issue. du reports my home data and my .ecryptfs to be 99GB, but df reports it at 174GB taking 100%, I am moving files away to USB disk, using k4dirstat to find which is taking the most. but df does not decrease....
    – Mathieu J.
    Jan 18, 2019 at 2:17

3 Answers 3


This is a bug in the disk analyzer utility. It is misrepresenting the amount of storage that's actually being used on your disk.

The files that are actually written to disk (if you're using Ubuntu's Encrypted Home Directory) are located in /home/.ecryptfs. The files and directories you see in your $HOME are actually a virtual representation of your encrypted data. It's a phantom view of your decrypted data that the Linux kernel presents to the rest of the operating system. Rest assured that it's not taking up twice the disk space.

Full disclosure: I am the author of Ubuntu's Encrypted Home Directory feature and one of the current maintainers of eCryptfs.

  • 2
    Wow, six years later and it's still not fixed. This bug just caused my entire system to lock up and I was unable to use any of my programs because of lack of disk space. Then, when I restarted, I was unable to log in, and had to fix everything by dropping into a root prompt. I'm a developer so this wasn't hard for me, but if I wasn't this would've been terribly difficult to fix. :| Mar 2, 2018 at 20:59

If your home disk is encrypted analyses from root file system will be incorrect as it displays /home/.ecryptfs But if you choose /home/<user>/ It will display the correct information

  • emphasis: Scan /home/username instead. Like 'ncdu -x /home/username' and not 'ncdu -x /home'. (Or any other disk analyzer tool.)
    – user18099
    Nov 6, 2019 at 11:23

First, it is probably important to understand that disk usage analyzer is not a control system that sets limits on how much disk space is available within your hard disk itself. It is simply a tool that provides a view into your system. Thus, this tool does not really force limits on your disk.

Second, what is really needed is to try to determine what is the actual capacity of the drive, what is actually filling the drive space, what partitions exist, and how these are being utilised.

For simplicity sake, let's just try a very simple disk layout of the following on our fake netbook:

Disk total size: 16 GB SSD Hard Drive

/boot - 250 MB
swap 2 GB 
/     5 GB
/home everything else

So, we don't have a lot there really and we decide to choose .ecryptfs for the /home partition as stated. That means we have about 8.5 GB for the /home partition and if disk usage analyzer reports that as twice the amount available - that is 17 GB - which is more than the space available on the SSD Drive.

Even in this scenario though, Disk Usage Analyzer will not prevent the use of the disk, or impact its usage in any way. What is more likely to do so are large numbers of temporary files or other files taking up space within the system or another partition being completely filled and normal operations being impacted in that manner.

Have you checked that all other partitions are not filled and that the /home partition itself is not nearing capacity itself?

Would advise checking that first as it can prove beneficial to locating the actual issue which is preventing the problem. You may want to check for a hidden directory taking up space (maybe you are saving more data to disk than you may know).

Hope that helps. Have a nice day.

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.