How To Find Largest Top 10 Files and Directories On Linux / UNIX / BSD find


find . -type f -size +4096c

to find files bigger than 4096 bytes.

And :

find . -type f -size -4096c

to find files smaller than 4096 bytes.

Notice the + and - difference after the size switch.

The -size switch explained:

-size n[cwbkMG]

    File uses n units of space. The following suffixes can be used:

    `b'    for 512-byte blocks (this is the default if no suffix  is

    `c'    for bytes

    `w'    for two-byte words

    `k'    for Kilobytes       (units of 1024 bytes)

    `M'    for Megabytes    (units of 1048576 bytes)

    `G'    for Gigabytes (units of 1073741824 bytes)

    The size does not count indirect blocks, but it does count
    blocks in sparse files that are not actually allocated. Bear in
    mind that the `%k' and `%b' format specifiers of -printf handle
    sparse files differently. The `b' suffix always denotes
    512-byte blocks and never 1 Kilobyte blocks, which is different
    to the behaviour of -ls.

How To Find Largest Top 10 Files and Directories On Linux / UNIX / BSD

last updated  in Categories,


How do I find the largest top files and directories on a Linux or Unix-like operating systems?

Sometimes it is necessary to know what file(s) or directories are eating up all your disk space. Further, it may be required to find out it at the particular directory location on filesystem such as /tmp/ or /var/ or /home/. This guide will help you to use Unix and Linux command for finding the largest or biggest the files or directories on filesystem.




How to find out top 10 files and directories on Linux or Unix

There is no simple command available to find out the largest files/directories on a Linux/UNIX/BSD filesystem. However, combination of following three commands (using pipes) you can easily find out list of largest files: Steps to find Largest Directories in Linux

  1. du command : Estimate file space usage.
  2. sort command : Sort lines of text files or given input data.
  3. head command : Output the first part of files i.e. to display first 10 largest file.
  4. find command : Search file.

How to find out top Directories and files in Linux

Type the following command at the shell prompt to find out top 10 largest file/directories:
# du -a /var | sort -n -r | head -n 10
Sample outputs:

1008372 /var
313236  /var/www
253964  /var/log
192544  /var/lib
152628  /var/spool
152508  /var/spool/squid
136524  /var/spool/squid/00
95736   /var/log/mrtg.log
74688   /var/log/squid
62544   /var/cache

If you want more human readable output try (GNU user only):
$ cd /path/to/some/where
$ du -hsx * | sort -rh | head -10


  • du command -h option : display sizes in human readable format (e.g., 1K, 234M, 2G).
  • du command -s option : show only a total for each argument (summary).
  • du command -x option : skip directories on different file systems.
  • sort command -r option : reverse the result of comparisons.
  • sort command -h option : compare human readable numbers. This is GNU sort specific option only.
  • head command -10 OR -n 10 option : show the first 10 lines.

The above command will only work of GNU/sort is installed. Other Unix like operating system should use the following version (see comments below):

for i in G M K
  du -ah | grep [0-9]$i | sort -nr -k 1
done | head -n 11

Sample outputs:

179M	.
84M	./uploads
57M	./images
51M	./images/faq
49M	./images/faq/2013
48M	./uploads/cms
37M	./videos/faq/2013/12
37M	./videos/faq/2013
37M	./videos/faq
37M	./videos
36M	./uploads/faq

Find the largest file in a directory and its subdirectories using the find command

Type the following GNU/find command:

## Warning: only works with GNU find ##
find /path/to/dir/ -printf '%s %p\n'| sort -nr | head -10
find . -printf '%s %p\n'| sort -nr | head -10

Sample outputs:

5700875 ./images/faq/2013/11/iftop-outputs.gif
5459671 ./videos/faq/2013/12/glances/glances.webm
5091119 ./videos/faq/2013/12/glances/glances.ogv
4706278 ./images/faq/2013/09/
3911341 ./videos/faq/2013/12/vim-exit/vim-exit.ogv
3640181 ./videos/faq/2013/12/python-subprocess/python-subprocess.webm
3571712 ./images/faq/2013/12/glances-demo-large.gif
3222684 ./videos/faq/2013/12/vim-exit/vim-exit.mp4
3198164 ./videos/faq/2013/12/python-subprocess/python-subprocess.ogv
3056537 ./images/faq/2013/08/debian-as-parent-distribution.png.bak

You can skip directories and only display files, type:

## How to Find Out Top Directories and Files (Disk Space) in Linux Using Find ##
find /path/to/search/ -type f -printf '%s %p\n'| sort -nr | head -10


## another option ##
find /path/to/search/ -type f -iname "*.mp4" -printf '%s %p\n'| sort -nr | head -10

For example, to find files which are bigger than 4MB, use the following command:

$ find . -type f -size +4M

To find files smaller than 4MB, use this command:

$ find . -type f -size -4M

You might wonder how to find files between a certain size. For instance, you can find files between 30MB and 40MB using the following command:

$ find -size +30M -size -40M

To find files of exact size, for example 30MB, run:

$ find -size 30M
0 (0)
Article Rating (No Votes)
Rate this article
There are no attachments for this article.
There are no comments for this article. Be the first to post a comment.
Full Name
Email Address
Security Code Security Code
Related Articles RSS Feed
sed Delete / Remove ^M Carriage Return (Line Feed / CRLF) on Linux or Unix
Viewed 517 times since Thu, Feb 7, 2019
What Is /dev/shm And Its Practical Usage
Viewed 581 times since Tue, Mar 12, 2019
Top 20 OpenSSH Server Best Security Practices - good article
Viewed 564 times since Mon, Oct 1, 2018
How to use yum-cron to automatically update RHEL/CentOS Linux 6.x / 7.x
Viewed 1174 times since Tue, Dec 4, 2018
RHEL: Displaying system info (firmware, serial numbers... )
Viewed 1246 times since Sun, May 27, 2018
LUKS List available methods of encryption for LUKS
Viewed 503 times since Fri, Jul 13, 2018
Using stunnel to Encrypt Database Connections
Viewed 995 times since Fri, Sep 28, 2018
How to accurately determine when the system was booted
Viewed 470 times since Wed, Oct 3, 2018
6 easy steps to setup offline two factor authentication in Linux
Viewed 216 times since Mon, Apr 6, 2020
RHEL: iSCSI target/initiator configuration on RHEL7
Viewed 1283 times since Sat, Jun 2, 2018