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How to find the file size in Linux

In this article, we will look at how to get the file size in UNIX-like operating systems using a variety of command-line utilities. We will be using two commands to get it done.

Posted: 16 Apr, 22 Updated: 04 Dec, 23 by Susith Nonis 10 Min

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Obtaining file information on a regular basis is critical because, before assigning extra space, you must determine which files are using up the most space and which files are unnecessary and taking up a lot of space. In Linux, we have a variety of tools to check this. In this article, we'll look at a few different ways to verify the file size in Linux using the command line.

A file is a container for keeping any data in a computer system on a hard disk. Computer files have many of the same characteristics as paper documents in the library and office folders. There are many distinct sorts of files, including data files, text files, media files, and binary files, all of which hold different data types. Files can be saved on optical discs, hard drives, or other kinds of feasible storage media in a computer operating system.

The Linux file system has a ranked file structure because it has a root directory and subdirectories. The root directory has all of the other guides. Normally, a partition has just one file system, but it might have many. A file system is constructed in such a way that it can handle and store non-volatile data. Non-volatile storage refers to data that does not vanish when turned off the computer. Every file system needs a namespace, which is the technology and architecture that will be used to store the files. The namespace specifies the naming procedure, file name length, or a subset of characters that can be used in the file name. It also shows how files on a memory segment are organized logically, such as using directories to organize certain files. Once a namespace has been formed, a Metadata description for that specific file must be defined. To communicate with file system components such as files and directories, an API (application programming interface) is required. Creating, deleting, and copying files are all made easier using API. It simplifies an algorithm that determines how files are organized on a file system. API acts as a middleman between the user and the operating system's hardware, which is written in assembly language. Users make requests to the API in high-level languages, which are subsequently processed by the API as needed.

Welcome to the world of Linux, where efficiency and customization reign supreme. If you're navigating through the Linux landscape, understanding how to find the file size is a fundamental skill. Whether you're a seasoned Linux user or just dipping your toes into the open-source waters, this guide will unravel the mystery behind determining file sizes in a Linux environment.

Procedure to check file size in Linux

Before we dive into the specifics, let's ensure we're on the same page with basic navigation. Open your terminal - the gateway to the Linux universe. Remember, the terminal is your friend; don't be intimidated by its seemingly enigmatic nature.

cd /path/to/your/file

Ensure you're in the directory where your file resides. Simple, right? Now, let the file size exploration commence.

The 'ls' command is perhaps one of the most often used commands on the command line in Linux. It means "to list," as in "to list the files and folders from my current location." It's approximately the same as the DOS/Windows command line option 'dir'. The man page for 'ls' will provide you with a wide variety of options that you can use with this command. Let's take a look at a few that show you the file size.

ls -l <file>

The -l options are used to get the size of the specified file.

ls -l *

-l options are used to get the size of all the files in the current directory.

ls -al *

-al option is used to get the size of all the files, including hidden files in the current directory.

ls -h -l <file>

-h option prints human-readable sizes of the files.

In a nutshell, using the `ls` command is a quick and straightforward method for gauging file sizes. It's an ideal choice for a rapid overview without delving into the intricacies of disk space usage.

What are environment variables?

Environment variables are terms that are utilized by practically every command you execute and are considered to have a specific value. For example, suppose you need to know the installation path of a certain installed package, such as python, to run a command. Set the environment variable to point to the python 2.7 installation path, and any subsequent calls to 'python' from the terminal will resolve to that path. Now, if you suddenly wish to utilize Python 3 for all of your future needs, you must alter the environment variable to refer to Python 3's installation path.

How du command decides block size

The du command examines the following environment variables to determine the block size to use: DU BLOCK SIZE, BLOCK SIZE, BLOCKSIZE are all terms for referring to the same thing. If any of these exist, the block size is set, and du stops checking. If none are specified, du uses a block size of 1,024 bytes by default. On the other hand, Du defaults to a block size of 512 bytes if the environment variable POSIXLY_CORRECT is set in your system.

When it comes to sizing up files in Linux, the `du` command is your trusty companion. Short for "disk usage," this command provides a comprehensive overview of space utilization. Here's how you can leverage its power:

du -h <path>

The `-h` flag stands for "human-readable," making the output more user-friendly.

Interpret the results: The `du` command will display the file size in kilobytes. If you prefer a more readable format, the `-h` flag ensures that the size is presented in a human-readable format, such as kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), or gigabytes (GB).

du -s <path>

Get memory allocated summary of the file or the directory.

Getting file sizes in blocks

The block parameter can be used to provide a block size for du for the current operation. To determine the actual sizes of the directories and files using a one-byte block size, use the following command:

du --block=1

If you wish to utilize a one-megabyte block size, use the below command:

du -m

du -a

Print directories and files' details in the tree form starting from the root directory. This means that all the files in the root directory would be printed first. Later, the files in the sub-directories of the root directories would be printed and so on.

du -d <depth>

Using the -d (max depth) option and a depth value as an input, you may instruct du to list the directory tree to a specific depth.

Congratulations! You've successfully unveiled the size of your file using the `du` command. This method is particularly handy when dealing with directories and wanting to assess the cumulative size of multiple files.

When it comes to a detailed dossier on a file, the `stat` command steps into the spotlight. Unlike its counterparts, `stat` provides a comprehensive set of information, including access, modification, and change timestamps, alongside the elusive file size. Here's how you can wield this command:

stat filename

The `stat` command is your backstage pass to a treasure trove of file details. As you delve into the Linux ecosystem, this command becomes an invaluable tool in your arsenal.

Also, if you are wondering how to find files by name linux, check the link to find out more.

If you're seeking a file's size in a slightly unconventional way, the `wc` (word count) command can surprise you with its versatility. Follow these steps to unveil the file size using `wc`:

wc -c filename

 The `-c` flag instructs `wc` to count bytes, providing you with the file size.

The `wc` command, primarily designed for word counting, unveils its hidden talent when it comes to sizing up files in bytes. It's a nifty trick up your sleeve, especially if you appreciate a command that wears multiple hats.

When it comes to uncovering file sizes in a directory and its subdirectories, the `find` command is your go-to navigator. This command not only helps you locate files but also provides a glimpse into their sizes. Let's embark on this exploration together:

find . -name filename -exec du -h {} +

This combination not only locates the file but also displays its size using the `du` command

The `find` command, akin to a skilled detective, not only tracks down files but also spills the beans on their sizes. This versatile command adds another dimension to your Linux prowess.

In the Linux realm, understanding the disparity between the `ls` and `du` commands regarding file sizes is akin to deciphering two dialects of the same language. Let's delve into this intriguing comparison:

ls -lh filename

du -h filename

The ls command output shows that the file size is 1.0M (megabytes), while the du command also shows the file as taking up 1.0M of disk space. It's worth noting that du gives the space used on disk, which may include space for metadata and may be more than the actual file size due to block size of the filesystem, while ls shows the actual size of the file's contents.

In this article, we looked at how to get the file size in UNIX-like operating systems using a variety of command-line utilities. We went through the ls command and its different parameters before moving on to the du command, which is used to determine the disc usage of certain files or directories. also, we have thoroughly examined the 'stat', 'wc', and 'find' commands to understand their applications in displaying file sizes in Linux.

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Frequently Asked Questions

To accurately assess the file size Linux, you can use various commands like 'du,' 'ls,' and 'stat.' Simply execute 'du -h filename' or 'ls -lh filename' to quickly check the file size in Linux. If you prefer a more detailed report, 'stat filename' provides a comprehensive overview, showcasing not only the file size in Linux but also additional information.

For a rapid check of file size in Linux, the 'ls' command is your friend. Just type 'ls -lh filename' in the terminal, and you'll instantly see a human-readable list displaying the file size in Linux along with other details.

Certainly! Use the 'du' command with the 'find' command for an extensive search. Execute 'find . -name filename -exec du -h {} +' to efficiently check file sizes in Linux across directories and subdirectories, presenting a comprehensive output.

In Linux, the 'get' command is not commonly used for file sizes. Instead, rely on 'du,' 'ls,' or 'stat' commands. For example, 'du -h filename' is a widely used approach to Linux get file size.

The phrases 'check size of file Linux' and 'get size of file Linux' are often used interchangeably. Whether you use 'du,' 'ls,' or 'stat' commands, each method allows you to effectively check the size of a file in Linux.

Absolutely! The 'stat' command is tailored for a detailed report on a file, including its size. Type 'stat filename' to not only Linux show file size but also unveil a wealth of additional information.

For optimal results, consider the nature of your task. Whether you need a quick estimate or a detailed analysis, commands like 'du,' 'ls,' and 'stat' offer diverse approaches to Linux file size determination. Choose the command that best fits your specific needs.

Susith Nonis

Susith Nonis

I'm fascinated by the IT world and how the 1's and 0's work. While I venture into the world of Technology, I try to share what I know in the simplest way with you. Not a fan of coffee, a travel addict, and a self-accredited 'master chef'.