How to Check for Free Space on Your Linux System

Want to check free disk space on your Linux system?

Learning how to manage disk space is necessary if you want maximum performance from your system. Having an idea of the available disk space can be termed as a prerequisite for its efficient management. Thus, being able to check the available disk space is of paramount importance.   

Checking free disk space on Linux systems might seem a little daunting. Worry not, as this guide will educate you on how to check for free disk space on your Linux system. We will cover how to view available space with the help of both the Command Line Interface (CLI) and the Graphical User Interface (GUI). 

As long as you follow the steps correctly, this article will surely help you understand the command syntax, their functions, and how to view the disk space with the help of GUI.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the methods.

1. Checking Free Disk Space [Terminal].

You can check for free disc space by typing $df (abbreviated as the “disk free” command) in the terminal. This will tell you the amount of disk space that has been used up and the amount that is available. The syntax for this command is as follow:

$ df -[options] [devices]  

The $df command can be utilized in different ways. By using different options, we can use commands such as $df -h or $df -a  for viewing used and available disk space in a command-unique way. The functions of these commands will be explained later. 

Follow these steps to check your available disk space: 

  1. Open the Terminal application on your Linux system by using CTRL + ALT + T.
  2. In the terminal type the following command:
$ df

This will display your device memory in a tabular form as follow:

Free Space on Linux

The output tells you the amount of disk space currently being used by the system and its resources, along with the available disk space. Note that the memory displayed is in Kilobytes(KB). 

The $df -h Command. 

You may have noticed that the $df command displays the memory in Kilobytes(KB), which is quite difficult for users to comprehend as the numbers are very large. This is where the $df -h command comes in. 

The “h” in the $df -h command stands for “human-readable”. This command displays the used and available space in KB’s, Megabytes(MB), and Gigabytes(GB).

To see the functionality of this command, follow these steps: 

  1. Open Terminal using CTRL + Alt + T.
  2. Type the following command:
$ df -h
Free Space on Linux

As you can see the memory is now being displayed in either Kilobytes, Megabytes, and Gigabytes as per convenience. The disk space can be easily read and understood. 

The $df -a Command. 

The $df command provides us disk space information for the main and more important file systems present in your system. To view the disk space information of every file system, the $df -a command is used.

The $df -a command gives the default output in KB’s. You can use the $df -h command in combination with the $df -a command and view the output in MB’s and GB’s.

For viewing the output for this combination, follow these steps:

  1. Open Terminal using CTRL + ALT + T.
  2. Type the following command:
$ df -ha

The terminal will display output as follow:

Open Terminal using CTRL + ALT + T

As you can see, this command displays more file systems compared to the $df command. Thus, If you are unable to see the required file system using the default command, you can always use this option to check it out. 

The $df -t and $df -T Commands.

Normally, you would want to view disk space information on every file type residing in your system but there are instances where you might want to see the memory used up by a particular file type. For this purpose, you can use the $df -t command. The syntax for this command is:

$ df -t [filetype]

On the other hand, the $df -T command gives us the authority to view the file type for each file system being displayed on the terminal. There are no arguments that can be used with this command so the syntax for this command is similar to the commands previously mentioned. 

Lets us see the functionality and the outputs related to both commands: 

  1. Open Terminal using CTRL + ALT + T.
  2. Type the following command:
$ df -t tmpfs
$ df -T

These commands give us the following outputs:

tmfs
free some space on linux

The commands perform the exact functions described to you. There are other commands as well that can perform specific functions in combination with the $df command. If you want to learn more about them, you can type the following command on the terminal: 

$ df --help.

2. Checking Free Disk Space [GUI].

If you find the previous method to be daunting, no need to worry as you can do the same with the help of the GUI. You can check out the available disk space by using the “Disk Usage Analyzer”.

Another GUI application that you can use to check out disk space and usage is the “GNOME Disk Utility” app. Both of these applications are easily accessible.

Before we begin, it is advised that you mount all the memory devices related to your system first. When you open either of the applications and see that storage is unmounted, mount it first and then select it to view its details.

For access and successful usage of both applications, consider the following steps:

1. Click on the Applications icon on your Linux desktop.

2. Type “disk” in the search bar. You should see the following suggestions pop up:

application icons on linux

3. The disk icon is of the GNOME Disk Utility application whereas the Disk Usage Analyzer is understandable.

4. Open Disk Usage Analyzer. If there is an unmounted storage present, mount it first. In the absence of any unmounted storage, click on any storage for graphical representation.

Free Space on Linux
Free Space on Linux

5. Now open the GNOME Disk Utility app. Click on the available storage to see its details. 

Free Space on Linux

As you can see, both applications represent the memory graphically. Thus, comprehending space becomes much easier. We all have a preferred way of performing certain tasks. GUIs are for the people who prefer a more visual approach. 

We hope this guide helped you learn about different ways of checking available disk and storage space on a Linux system. Be it either through the terminal or the GUI, you can now keep track of the memory you use while installing new applications and monitor unwarranted usage of memory. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂

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