A cool little program that analyses your hard drive and shows you graphically how much space each folder is taking up is Filelight. It’s available through Synaptic, is a small download, and well worth looking at. Basically, it’s better than a pie chart that shows you the biggest folders, as it displays disk usage in concentric rings. You can hover your mouse over parent folders and see which sub-folders are those taking up the most space. This is invaluable when suddenly your system is telling you you have run out of room – and you know you should have over 10 Gb free!
You can easily find which folder is the culprit, and a common cause of this happening is the creation of large temporary files by the likes of Disc Copier (which deletes its temp files when shutting down). For me, I had to account for over 30 Gb suddenly missing, and Filelight quickly showed me that /tmp was rather large, and in it were a whole lot of 4.4 Gb temp files (each one obviously a disc image of a DVD I had copied during that session). So because of Filelight, I quickly realised if i was running out of space after copying DVDs, I could either reboot, or much more easily just go to /tmp and delete all the disc image temp files that weren’t even needed anymore.
When you install Filelight, which is actually a KDE app, some KDE libraries needed to run it will be installed along with it, and its launcher will be in a new KDE menu in Applications (inside the Utilities sub-menu). When you start it, click the desired partition, and wait a few minutes while it analyses the drive/partition. You can then have an in-depth look at how your precious space is being used, and you might just find a few Gb of useless stuff to delete! Just remember that you can maximise Filelight for an even closer look.
To save opening your package manager to install it, just paste the following into a terminal:
sudo apt-get install filelight
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