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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?

9

The .gvfs is where network attached folders live. If you've used "Places/Connect to Server", or typed smb://server/share into Nautilus, 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 Analyzer" (AKA baobab).

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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
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    Or just open nautilus (file browser) and click eject buttons on those disks.
    – eXlin
    Oct 10 '10 at 11:53
  • This question was posted 6 years and 9 months ago. Here in July 2017 we know it never copies mounted drives.
    – SDsolar
    Jul 30 '17 at 5:05
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For this purpose I have a cron task that runs periodically (for eg. @monthly) executing BleachBit (manual) in the command-line mode silently. Edit it with crontab -e:

0 1 1 */2 *  bleachbit --clean apt.autoclean chromium.cache deepscan.ds_store deepscan.thumbs_db firefox.cache google_chrome.cache nautilus.history system.cache thunderbird.cache

I configured it with GNOME Schedule GUI (source, removed as deb package, only available as snap; Last Update: 2016-05-25).

You can run

bleachbit --list-cleaners | column

to choose which cleaners you want to execute.

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  • 5
    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
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    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
  • Keep in mind this was posted in 2010. Here in the future I would not rely on its accuracy.
    – SDsolar
    Jul 30 '17 at 5:06

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