Sebilj, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Clearing Linux disk cache

For experimentation, it’s very convenient to be able to drop the disk cache. For this, we can use the special file /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches. By writing 3 to it, we can clear most of the disk cache:

$ free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          1504       1471         33          0         36        801
-/+ buffers/cache:        633        871
Swap:         2047          6       2041

$

echo 3 | sudo tee /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches 
3
$ free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          1504        763        741          0          0        134
-/+ buffers/cache:        629        875
Swap:         2047          6       2041

Notice how “buffers” and “cached” went down, free mem went up, and free+buffers/cache stayed the same.