I am in a situation where I am getting an error when I try to save a file to my Ubuntu server via ssh. It says there isn't any available space left. I don't know how that can be true. What should I do to determine how much space is left and/or what resources are using the most space?

Update: df -h gave me some stuff to look at. Is that the command I am looking for?


Yes, df -h (Disk Free) will show the free space on each of the mounted file systems.

So cd to the filesystem that's full, and du -sh * (Disk Usage) will show the total space used by each of the files/directories in the current working directory. The --max-depth option for du may also be useful here.

Finding exactly what is responsible for using all the space can be somewhat of an art - This answer lists some graphical utilities that can make that easier, though of course this isn't helpful in your case.

The simplest approach is just to work your way into the directory structure of the filesystem in question, trying to isolate files or directories that are taking up more space than expected.

Note: It's also worth running df -i to check the you haven't run out of inodes (ifree should be non-zero on writable partitions) - this can happen on some filesystems, especially if a larger number of small files have been created.

  • 3
    Thank you for providing a complete explanation, rather than only writing the commands to use. +1
    – Gnoupi
    Jan 12 '10 at 9:20

df to see space remaining. du to find what is using that space.


To check the file system disk usage go to System > Administration > System Monitor and look under the "File Systems" tab to get a simple disk-usage layout.

To find out which files/directories are taking up the most space use the Disk Space Analyzer in Accessories to get a nice graphical ring chart showing you what is taking up all that space.


du -sxh * - over the / folder.


Use df -h for finding overall disk stats.

Then you can narrow it down with the following command to see what is using the disk space:

du - disk usage

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