5 ways to check disk space on Ubuntu

There are many ways to check and analyze the disk usage on Ubuntu. In this post, we shall show your five best methods, including GUI and command-line methods.

A regular check on your computer’s Disk Usage(DU) is required to ensure the smooth running of your system. Having a disk working at nearly 100% disk usage causes your PC to slow down, hang, or become unresponsive. It will no longer execute tasks faster like before. In this article, you will learn how to check the Disk Usage on your system using a variety of ways.

Disk Usage and Disk Capacity

The terms Disk Usage and Disk capacity might be quite confusing to some users. Let’s clarify it in a brief before proceeding.

Disk Usage (DU) refers to the amount of your computer memory currently in use. Most storage devices like Hard disk have a specific read/write speed normally summing up to between 100-150mb/s. If your drive read, write speed exceeds 100-150mb/s, and you will have a 100% disk usage, which will slow down your PC.

Disk capacity, on the other hand, refers to the total storage space available on the disk.

Tools to check Disk usage

There are several ways which you use to check and analyze the disk usage in your Ubuntu system. In this post, we shall focus on five best methods, which include both Graphical and command-line methods.

1. System Monitor
2. Disk Usage Analyzer
3. NCurses Disk Usage (NCDU)
4. DF Command
5. PYDF command

1. System Monitor

System monitor comes pre-installed in your system, and you, therefore, don’t need to download any additional packages. You can launch from your Applications menu.

If the system monitor is not installed in your system, execute the command below for Ubuntu operating systems.

sudo apt install gnome-system-monitor

launch system monitor.
launch system monitor

Apart from Disk Usage, System monitor also shows you additional information like all running processes in your system and system resources usage.

To check the Disk Usage click on the “File Systems” tab. That will display Disk Usage information in six tabs.

  • Device tab
  • Directory tab
  • Type of file system
  • Total device capacity
  • Available space on the device
  • Used device Space

If the Used Device Space is equal to the Total Device Capacity, the System Monitor will show 100% Disk usage, as in the image below.

System Monitor.
System Monitor.

2. Disk Usage Analyzer

Disk Usage Analyzer is a disk usage utility that comes with the GNOME Desktop Environment. It gives you a graphical representation in the form of a Ring Chart or Treemap chart. This tool represents what is on the disk to the user via a menu-driven graphical representation.

The powerful graphical user interface provides users with a scan feature to check specific parts of the file systems. You can scan a single folder, the entire file system, or remote directories and filesystem if you are working with a server system.

Disk Usage Analyzer.
Disk Usage Analyzer

Disk Usage Analyzer lists Disk information in 4 tabs;

  • Folder name
  • Disk Usage – Represented by a percentage bar
  • Device size
  • Contents – It sows the number of items present in the device

It also makes uses of different colors to represent the Disk Usage. The red color shows high disk usage that is close to 100% with green showing low or average disk usage.

3. NCurses Disk Usage (NCDU)

It is a Disk Usage analyzer that uses a ncurses interface to present disk information to the user. It is a command-line based tool and therefore, an excellent choice for server management where you are limited to a Graphical User Interface (GUI). However, it’s still a reliable tool even for the Desktop system.

NCDU does not come pre-installed like our previous tools. Click the link below to download it from its official website.

Download NCDU Analyzer

Once downloaded, you do not need to install this tool, make it executable, and run it on the command-line. From my experience working with it, copy the file on the home directory and execute it from there – but it is not mandatory. It only saves you the time of navigating between different folders.

Launch NCDU.
Launch NCDU

To run NCDU, execute the commands below simultaneously.

sudo chmod +x ncdu
sudo ./ncdu

NCDU Disk Usage Analysis.
NCDU Disk Usage Analysis

Navigate through the NCDU interface using th4e arrow keys or press Q for help.

4. The DF command

DF command is a command-line tool that comes pre-installed in most Linux systems and has long been used to check Disk usage and available disk space. It supports several arguments that display specific Disk Usage information.
The basic syntax is;

df [options] [devices]

For example;

df -h: Displays disk Usage in Human Readable Format.
df -a: Show all File System Disk Space Usage.

Df Command Disk Usage.
DF Command Disk Usage

5. PYDF command

PYDF (Python Disk File System) is an advancement of the DF command, which we have discussed above. It is a python command-line tool used to display disk usage but in different colors, unlike the DF command.

PYDF does not come pre-installed in Ubuntu but can be installed with the command below:

sudo apt install pydf

Install PYDF.
Install PYDF in Ubuntu

Using PYDF to analyze your system for Disk Usage is easy. You can execute the “pydf” command, which Disk Usage information of all mounted file systems. You can also run “pydf -h,” which displays disk usage in a human-readable format. To list all the arguments you can use with PYDF, run the command “pydf –help.”

PYDf to show Disk Usage.
PYDf to show Disk Usage

Those are five tools you can use to check Disk Usage on your Ubuntu system. Do you have a tool that is not listed here? Feel free to share with our users in the comment section.

Arun Kumar
Arun did his bachelor in computer engineering and loves enjoying his spare time writing for FOSS Linux. He uses Fedora as the daily driver and loves tinkering with interesting distros on VirtualBox. He works during the day and reads anything tech at night. Apart from blogging, he loves swimming and playing tennis.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here




How to install CouchPotato on Ubuntu

Downloading movies and copying them over to your home server can get frustrating, especially if you are doing it daily! What if you have an option to download videos automatically, quickly, and above all with excellent quality. CouchPotato allows you to download movies easily once they are available and released automatically.

Top 20 Rsync Examples in Linux

The Rsync (remote sync) command is a Linux/Unix utility used to synchronize and copy files and directories either locally or remotely. Most Linux geeks use Rsync to mirror, backup or migrate data across folders, across disks and networks. One notable feature with the Rsync command is that it uses the "delta transfer algorithm."

Setting up NFS Server on Ubuntu Server

We have put together a detailed step-by-step tutorial that will guide you on how to install and set up NFS Server on Ubuntu so you too can start sharing data with other client systems. It is divided into sections, the first part discussing how to set up the host server and the second part showing you how to set up the client-side. For this tutorial, we will be using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Crontab in Linux Explained With Examples

Crontab is the Linux equivalent of the Window's Task Scheduler. It can help you set up a task to run automatically at a regular...

The 10 Best Linux Server Distros For Home And Businesses

By the year 2020, it is estimated that there are close to 600 Linux distributions in the market. It includes both servers and Desktop versions; therefore, if you are looking for lightweight Linux distribution for your old PC or a reliable desktop version for employees in your organization, you may be overwhelmed with the number of choices for finding one for your use.

How to list the installed Packages on Ubuntu

It is only natural to start installing more and more software on your Ubuntu PC once you start using it. Similarly, it is also natural to lose track of the different packages that you have installed on your system. Eventually, you may be overwhelmed with the number of packages in your system and with the ones you hardly used.


Linux is growing faster than ever. As per the latest report, there is a drop in the Windows 10 market share for the first time, and Linux's market share has improved to 2.87% this month. Most of the features in the list were rolled out in the Pop OS 20.04. Let's a detailed look into the new features, how to upgrade, and a ride through video.
Elementary OS 5.1 Hera has received a point release with a handful of new features and bug fixes, and we will be reviewing the significant changes in this article. For those new to elementary OS, this Ubuntu-based Linux distribution uses their inhouse built Pantheon desktop environment and AppCenter.

Manjaro ‘Gellivara’ XFCE Edition (17.0.5) in 10 Screenshots

Want to take a quick virtual tour Manjaro XFCE edition instead of downloading GBs worth of ISO image and then making a Live USB of it? We will make it easy for you. Here are a series of screenshots of the important aspects of Manjaro Linux in XFCE edition. This is a light-weight edition, and aims to be fast and low on system resources. You will be amazed on how it is still visually appealing and user friendly.

5 Best Video Players for Linux

Most Linux-based systems come with a built-in video player, but let's be honest, it most definitely won't be able to satisfy all of your requirements, due to the fact that default software is mostly made for basic purposes. In this article, we will review the 5 Best Video Players for Linux and thoroughly discuss their features as well as their pros and cons.

What is FOSS, and how does it differ from Freeware

The rise of the Linux operating system, in all its various distributions, over the past few decades has catapulted the popularity of Free or Open Source Software (FOSS). Let's guide you in understanding what is FOSS, how it differs from freeware and is Linux a FOSS.

Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS Review: Refinement at its Best

Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS was released a week ago after two years of development. Official updates and security patches will be provided until April 2025. I have installed it on my test laptop for a spin and here are my observations based on almost a week usage.