*nix: find the largest files/directories within a directory

An article, posted 3 months ago filed in , , , , , & .

Every now and then I’m searching for this little snippet in my notes using NotationalVelocity (or currently actually a fork):

du -hsx * | sort -rh | head -100

It’s a variation of a snippet I found somewhere, but hardly invested any time in understanding what it actually does. Let’s decompose, from head to taildu.

head -100

head simply limits the results to a maximum of 100 lines. Not much more to explain here


sort sorts. by default it sorts the files by filename, but adding ‘-h’ to it allows it to sort by “human readable numbers” (e.g. 5M > 6K); if ‘-n’ would be added as option 6K would be > 5M. The ‘-r’ options reverses the sort wich is by default ascending.


du by defaults crawls a directory recursively for all files. passing '-s' tells it to sum the values of files within directories. the '-x' option is used to n…

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