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CompTIA Linux+ XK0-005 - 4.1 - Capacity Issues: Low Disk Space

In this guide, we will explore how to analyze and troubleshoot capacity issues related to low disk space. Understanding disk space utilization and employing effective troubleshooting techniques is essential for maintaining optimal performance in a Linux system. Let's dive into the details.


Disk space refers to the total storage capacity available on a disk or partition. As you use a Linux system, various files, applications, and system processes generate data and consume disk space. Over time, if disk space is not managed efficiently, it can become filled up, leading to performance issues and potential system failures.

Understanding Disk Space Utilization

To effectively analyze and troubleshoot low disk space issues, it's crucial to understand how disk space is utilized. Here are some key points to consider:

  • File System: Linux systems typically use ext4 or other file systems to organize data on disks. The file system manages the allocation and retrieval of files, directories, and metadata.
  • Disk Usage: The df command allows you to view disk space utilization on Linux. It provides information on the total disk space, used space, available space, and utilization percentage for each mounted file system.
  • Directories and Files: Files and directories contribute to disk space utilization. Identifying large files and directories can help pinpoint areas where disk space is being consumed excessively.

Analyzing Disk Space

When facing low disk space issues, you can follow these steps to analyze disk space utilization:

  1. Check Disk Usage: Run the command df -h to obtain an overview of the disk space usage. Review the output to identify file systems that are running low on available space.


    $ df -h
    Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/sda1        20G   18G  2.0G  90% /
    /dev/sda2       100G   60G   40G  60% /home
  2. Identify Large Files and Directories: Use the du command to find directories or files consuming significant disk space. Specify the target directory, and the command will display the disk space usage for each directory and file within it.


    $ du -h /var/log
    20G   /var/log/apache2/access.log
    10G   /var/log/apache2/error.log
    30G   /var/log/apache2
  3. Review System Logs: Check system logs, such as /var/log/syslog or /var/log/messages, for any errors or excessive log entries that may be consuming disk space.

Troubleshooting Low Disk Space

Once you have analyzed disk space utilization, you can take the following steps to troubleshoot low disk space issues:

  1. Remove Unnecessary Files: Identify and remove unnecessary files or directories that are consuming disk space. This can include old log files, temporary files, or unused applications.
  2. Compress or Archive Files: If you have large files that are rarely accessed, consider compressing or archiving them to save disk space. Tools like tar or zip can help with compression and archiving.
  3. Increase Disk Space: If removing files or compressing them is not sufficient, you may need to increase the disk space by adding a new hard drive, expanding an existing partition, or resizing a virtual disk in virtualized environments.
  4. Monitor Disk Space: Implement a monitoring system to regularly check disk space utilization and receive alerts when predefined thresholds are reached. This helps you proactively address low disk space issues before they impact system performance.


Effectively analyzing and troubleshooting low disk space issues is crucial for maintaining optimal performance and preventing system failures. By understanding disk space utilization, analyzing disk usage, and employing appropriate troubleshooting techniques, you can address low disk space issues in your Linux system. Regular monitoring and proactive disk space management are essential to ensure smooth system operation.

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