How to Analyze Disk Usage in Ubuntu

This guide will show you how to use a graphical utility included with Ubuntu to understand your hard disk drive usage.

Disk Usage Analyzer is a Gnome utility for analyzing disk usage. It displays statistics about your disk usage in an intuitive, easy to use graphical interface. It accomplishes much the same as using the “df”, “du” and “find” commands, but presents the info in a much easier to understand manner.

  1. Start by clicking the Show Applications button (the one located in the bottom left corner of the screen) to bring up the App Grid. In the Search field type in Disk Usage Analyzer and then click that app when it appears.
  2. a Search field with text inside of it

  3. Select your primary disk/partition (or whichever one you want to analyze)
  4. selecting a disk and partition

  5. The Disk Usage Analyzer app will now scan your hard drive. This process can take quite some time, depending on how large your drive is, what speed it is, how many files are on it etc. If you get an error message about not being able to scan a specific folder don’t worry – just click the Close button.
  6. an arrow pointing to a Close button

  7. Once the scan has completed you’ll be presented with a window divided into two panels. On the left side there’s a list of all the folders and sub-folders on your drive, with the number of files inside of them, their size, date created etc. The right side of the panel will display a Rings Chart by default.
  8. the Disk Usage Analyzer for Ubuntu
    click to enlarge

  9. You can narrow things down by selecting sub-folders from the list in the left panel, which in turn will update the Rings Chart in the right panel.
  10. the Disk Usage Analyzer for Ubuntu with a sub-folder selected
    click to enlarge

  11. If you hover your cursor over the rings in the chart you’ll see more info on a specific folder, it’s sub-folders etc.
  12. a Ring Chart

  13. You can also switch from the Rings Chart to a Treemap Chart by clicking its button (found below the chart itself).
  14. a Treemap Chart showing disk usage in Ubuntu

  15. As you can see, Disk Usage Analyzer is extremely easy to use and provides a fast and efficient way to find out what’s happening to your hard drive space.

If you use Windows or macOS in addition to Ubuntu, we have guides on how to determine your disk usage for those Operation Systems too! The Windows one is here, and the macOS one is here.


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