Cleaning Your Personally-Managed Linux System Using BleachBit

Utilities exist to help you find and clean your system of old and unused files. This allows you to free up disk space.  In this article we will look at installing and running on personally-managed Linux systems a utility that's free and available not only for many Linux distributions, but also Windows and Mac OSX.

Before we begin, it is important to keep in mind that running utilities that delete files with elevated privileges can break a system. One must always exercise care when doing so. Always keep in mind when running BleachBit that its file deletions are permanent.  When in doubt, skip the deletion.

BleachBit is available in most system distros.
For Debian and Ubuntu systems, on the bash command line, type:  sudo apt install bleachbit
For Redhat and Centos systems, on the bash command line, type:  sudo yum install bleachbit

On Xubuntu:

After BleachBit installs, you can find it on the Xubuntu GUI desktop by typing in the search textfield 'bleach'.  On Xubuntu systems, two icons should appear, one named 'BleachBit', and the other 'BleachBit (as root)'.  Click 'BleachBit (as root)' and authenticate.

On Centos 7:

After BleachBit installs, you can find it on the Centos GUI desktop by clicking 'Applications' → 'System Tools'.  Click 'BleachBit'.

BleachBit batch deletions:

Notice that once the BleachBit GUI frontend launches, a few of the batch delete options may already be selected.  You should take a minute to read through the descriptions of the options that have been selected to make sure that these really are the files that you want to delete.  To read an option's description, click on its Name.  To select or de-select an option, click on the option's Active checkbox.  Once you have selected your options, click on the magnifying glass icon to preview how many files will be deleted and how much disk space will be recovered.  Once you are satisfied with your selections, click the trashcan icon.

BleachBit file and folder shred options:

The BleachBit GUI frontend has a 'File' drop-down menu option. Within the drop-down menu are options to 'Shred Files' and 'Shred Folders'.  These options allow you to use BleachBit for one-time deletion of selected files and folders.

Written by CNS OIT staff
Questions or comments? The best and easiest way to contact us is via the CNS Help Desk form.

See also: Linux, OS X, Software, Windows