ncdu: Identify Large Files on Windows 10

The ncdu Linux utility running on Windows 10If you’re looking for a solution to find large files (high disk utilization) on Windows 10, you’re in luck! In fact, you can even do this from the Ubuntu on Windows Bash console. There’s a tool called ncdu, which is short for nCurses du. “du” refers to the “disk utilization” tool that has been available on Linux systems for many years. What this utility does is similar to other filesystem monitoring tools. It scans a directory, and then shows you, in a sorted fashion, the folders and files that take up the most space. This helps you to locate files that are very large, and may no longer be necessary, so you can free up more disk space.

Installing ncdu

Once you’ve installed Ubuntu for Windows 10, installing ncdu is very easy! All you need to do is run sudo apt update, to ensure that your local package index is up-to-date. After that, all you need to do is call sudo apt install ncdu. This command will install the utility along with any required dependencies, and should only take a few seconds to run.

Using ncdu

Once you’ve installed ncdu, it’s very easy to start using it! Simply navigate to the folder that you want to inspect, using the cd command, and then type the command name ncdu. This will scan the current folder for files, so if you have a lot of files, that may take a little while. I encourage you to test it out on a relatively small directory first, so you can quickly get used to how it works. Alternatively, you can simply type ncdu, followed by the folder path where you want to scan.

Another view of the ncdu Linux utilityAfter scanning your filesystem path, you’ll see a text-based GUI that shows you the largest folder. Here are some common commands to use inside ncdu:

  • Use the arrow keys to navigate files
  • Use ENTER to go into a directory
  • Press d to delete the currently selected file
  • Press ? (SHIFT + /) to access help
  • Press n to sort by file name
  • Press s to sort by file size
  • Press C to sort by number of items
  • Press g to toggle the view between percentage, graph, or both
  • Press t to group directories and files with each other
  • Press r to recalculate disk utilization
  • Press q to quit the application

ncdu Title Screen