I need to find out how much disk space is being occupied by each user on the network. I am aware of df and du commands: I could list the entire filesystem and AWK the output, but I wonder if there is a more standard command.

The output I am looking for is:

usr1  xMb
usr2  yMb
Total zMb

Any ideas?


PS. Red Hat Linux EE

9 Answers 9


Is this a one time thing, or is this information you want to be able to extract regularly? In case it is the later then one option is to apply quotas on your filesystem. Doing that the system continuously keeps track of the amount of data used by each user. That way the information is merely a query to the quota database away.

  • 1
    +1 quota is the solution!
    – ThorstenS
    Dec 15, 2009 at 19:48
  • 1
    A one-time thing; possibly a solution which can be stored in a small script for the users to compute their usage if they want to. We cannot limit the amount of data because of the type of work we do does not accommodate hard limits.
    – Escualo
    Dec 15, 2009 at 19:49
  • @ThorstenS: We do technical computing and we need to generate tons of information which may or may not be removed after a run is made. I don't think quotas help in our situation.
    – Escualo
    Dec 15, 2009 at 19:50
  • 1
    @Arrieta: You don't have to limit their usage. Simply give each user a ridiculously hight quota. Also, every user can by themselves query the quota database and see how much data they are currently storing.
    – andol
    Dec 15, 2009 at 20:00
  • 2
    You don't even need to set the quota to a big number, if you leave it unset (i.e. 0) it will not enforce it, but it will record the usage
    – Daniel
    Dec 15, 2009 at 21:36

Here is a simple and quick solution that I believe meets your requirement.

I assume that all your users have accounts in the /home directory. All you need to do is to change directory to the /home directory, and then do a du at a depth of 1.

cd /home
sudo du -d 1 -h

Your output will look something like this:

kcyow@linux-server:/home$ sudo du -d 1 -h
7.8M    ./user932
52G     ./user575
20K     ./user329
98G     ./user323
48G     ./user210
148G    ./user44
12M     ./kcyow
362G    ./user28
24G     ./user774
6.2M    ./user143
730G    .
  • Simple basic but good solution, by the way suggest user28 to reduce his Video download Consume :-) laugh
    – djdomi
    Jul 16, 2021 at 7:50
  • 1
    Ha ha! You bet I will! Jul 23, 2021 at 20:01

Or for finding the problem users (directories too),

du -xk | sort -n | tail -25

and for Solaris:

du -dk | sort -n | tail -25   

This gives you a list of the 25 largest directories. Not quite what you asked for, but I use it all the time.

  • Nice, but could you print the output in GB, or other human readable format?
    – Danijel
    Jul 13, 2022 at 10:48

Another nice solution I found here. Navigate to the directory of interest, and run (alternatively, change . to whichever directory interests you, e.g., /home/):

find . -type f -printf "%u  %s\n" \
  | awk '{user[$1]+=$2}; END{for(i in user) print i,user[i]}'
  • 1
    +1. Maybe add a -type f is you are really only looking for files?
    – Hennes
    Aug 22, 2014 at 18:37
  • Good answer. Use -printf "%u\t%s\n" and awk -v OFS="\t" if you think you ever might have a username with space in it.
    – Kevin E
    Sep 12, 2019 at 20:12

What we do in many places is use the quota system, but set absurdly high quotas. This way you get the benefit of fast reporting. At one site, each user has 1 TB of "quota" space.

We periodically bump the quota higher as serviceable disk grows -- initially it was 30GB per user, something that was absurdly high at the time.


There ist no such command. You have to write some shell commands for this.

  1. get all users from /etc/passwd with uid >1000
  2. use find -uid and search all files of the user
  3. use this list to feed du -s
  • Inefficient. You do not need to run find several times if you log the information in the same time. Save that information during your first run. Either in a file, or in an associative array.
    – Hennes
    Aug 22, 2014 at 18:35

ThorstenS's method seems like more work then is needed to me because it runs find multiple times. For a one off, I would just do 1 find command, and output the owner and size of each file, and then do some sort magic on that file.

The find would be something like which returns username (or id number of no username) and space used in bytes, in a null-byte delimited file:

sudo bash -c 'find . -printf "%u\0%s\0" > username_usage'

You can replace the \0 with something that might be a little bit easier to work with, like tabs or newlines, but that would be less safe if you have funky file names.

If you wanted to be even more efficient, you could pipe the output to script that handles it as it runs, but that would be a little more work, and you would have to get it right the first time.


I've made it :) Not fast thou, but works:


# Displays disk usage per user in the specified directory
# Usage: ./scriptname [target-directory]

[ "x$1" == "x" ] && dirname="." || dirname="$1"
for uid in `cat /etc/passwd |awk -F : '{ print $1 }' ` ; do # List all usernames
    for file in `find "$dirname" -type f -user "$uid" 2>/dev/null` ; do # List the folder's files that belongs to the current user, Ignore possible `find` errors.
        let user_size+=`stat -c '%s' $file` # Sum-up
    [ $user_size -gt 0 ] && echo "USER=$uid, SIZE=$user_size" # Display the result if >0

Great speed increase will occur if we seek only for UIDs that are >1000:

- for uid in `cat /etc/passwd | sed -rn "s~^([^:]+):.*$~\1~p"` ; do # List all usernames
+ for uid in `cat /etc/passwd | sed -rn "s~^([^:]+):[^:]:[0-9]{4,}:.*$~\1~p"` ; do # List all usernames having UID>1000
  • 1
    This repeats the find for every user; it's better to do just one find and aggregate per user, like Jonas does. Oct 20, 2022 at 15:26
 sudo du -sh /home/* | sort -rh
  • Welcome to Server Fault! It looks like you may have the knowledge to provide good Answer here, but please consider reading How do I write a good Answer? in our help center and then revise the Answer. Your Commands/Code may technically be a solution but some explanation is welcome and usually a requirement. In addition you're mostly rehashing an existing answer and your underlying assumption that users only have data in their home directory is possibly flawed .
    – HBruijn
    Feb 8 at 16:00

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