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I'm a command line noob but I think this one's stuck. I never get passed etc. Any ideas?

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I guess your problem is not related to Putty. Have you tried if this also happens if you log in locally? – Gurken Papst Jul 24 '12 at 19:08
@GurkenPapst I have no access to it physically, I am renting a VPS. – IMB Jul 24 '12 at 19:42
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I don't think it is stuck. It is just taking a really long time to compute the disk usage for the next directory. How long have you waited for it to finish?

Or there is something wrong with the linux system, such as the kernel trying to read bad disk blocks.

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Hmm, during the first attempts it's taking really long then it disconnects. Then at one point it still took really long but it finished. Do you think there's a bad disk block, sign of dying HDD? – IMB Jul 24 '12 at 17:33
PuTTY has a keepalive option that will prevent drop outs due to inactivity. du has to go through each file to tally usage so if you have a lot of files it can take awhile. – LawrenceC Jul 24 '12 at 19:01
@IMB: run dmesg and check the output for a hard drive error message. – jftuga Jul 25 '12 at 12:47

I'd see what all your volumes are with mount, then do 'du' on those individually. One will probably take a while.

If you were at a work setting, id assume there was an NFS/Network drive issue. At home, without a Network Drive, id assume you have a bad volume and you should fsck it.

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