My total file count was too high on the server where I pay for hosting. I needed to find a way to count the number of files in each sub-folder, so that I could focus my attention in areas where there are a lot of files.

I couldn't find a single answer that showed me how to do what I was trying to do, so I thought I'd post my question and then answer it so others can use it.

My question is:

How can I cycle through the sub-directories in my current directory and create a list that shows the number of recursive files in each sub-directory, sorted by file count?

du --inodes ${topdir} 

will list the number of inodes used by each directory (and its subdirectories). You may want to easily spot the biggest offenders:

du --inodes ${topdir} | sort -n

The directories at the bottom will be the bigger ones (and the last one will be directory you passed to du (${topdir} in the commands above).

#>du --inodes /usr/share/gimp | sort -n
1       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/fonts
2       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/tags
2       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/themes/Small
2       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/tips
3       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/tool-presets/Selection
3       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/ui/plug-ins
4       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/dynamics/FX
4       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/images
4       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/ui
6       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes/Splatters
6       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/scripts/images
7       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/tool-presets/Sketch
8       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes/Legacy
8       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/dynamics/Basic
8       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/gflare
9       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes/Sketch
9       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/gradients/gimp-obsolete-files
9       /usr/share/gimp/2.0/tool-presets/FX
10      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/gimpressionist/Paper
11      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes/Basic
11      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/gfig
12      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes/Media
13      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes/Texture
17      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/tool-presets/Paint
21      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/dynamics
26      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/gimpressionist/Presets
32      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/menus
34      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/fractalexplorer
37      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/tool-presets
41      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes/gimp-obsolete-files
41      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/palettes
59      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/patterns
61      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/gimpressionist/Brushes
65      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/themes/Default/images/preferences
70      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/themes/Default/images
72      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/themes/Default
75      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/themes
80      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/gradients
98      /usr/share/gimp/2.0/gimpressionist
101     /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes
270     /usr/share/gimp/2.0/scripts
881     /usr/share/gimp/2.0
882     /usr/share/gimp
  • --inodes is not supported for du on my dist of linux (Ubuntu). – James L. May 14 '18 at 18:37
  • It is on my Ubuntu 16.04 (du (GNU coreutils) 8.25) – xenoid May 14 '18 at 20:42

I created a file in my home folder called filecnt, which contains the following lines of code:

for d in *; do
  if [[ -d $d ]]; then
    echo `find $d -type f | wc -l` $d;
done | sort -n -k1

Then I changed the file permissions to allow execute:

chmod 755 ~/filecnt

Now, from any directory, I can run ~/filecnt to see a list of sub-directories in the current directory with their recursive file counts. The list is sorted by file count (ascending). For example:

0 access-logs
20 logs
187 etc
232 cache
694 tmp
30007 mail
48325 public_html

You can accomplish the same by simply running the following command from the CLI:

for d in *; do if [[ -d $d ]]; then echo `find $d -type f | wc -l` $d; fi done | sort -n -k1

Add -r to the final sort command to sort descending.

To produce a slightly more pleasing output, you can also use the following code in ~/filecnt instead of the code at the top of this answer:

echo "File Count    Dir Size  Directory"
echo "----------  ----------  -------------------------"
for d in *; do
  if [[ -d $d ]]; then
    echo `find $d -type f | wc -l` | awk '{printf "%10s  ", $0;}'
    echo `du -h --max-depth=0 $d` | cut -d\  -f 1 $1 | awk '{printf "%10s  ", $0;}'
    echo $d
done | sort -n -k1

The output looks like this:

File Count    Dir Size  Directory
----------  ----------  -------------------------
         0           0  access-logs
        20        8.3M  logs
       187        4.8M  etc
       232        228K  cache
       694         23M  tmp
     30715        6.4G  mail
     48272        2.3G  public_html

You may also like to look at "tree" The last line lists how many files and directories were present.

> tree | tail -1
4449 directories, 62681 files

It should be just as fast as "find".

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