What’s using up all my hard drive space? Data storage may be big and cheap, but it still hasn’t reached a point where we can dismiss the limits of our physical media storage quite yet. While working on a recent project, I found myself, once again, bumping up against the limits of my PC’s storage capacity. But what was taking up all those ones and zeros? I didn’t feel like my free space quite jived with what I had installed even after deleting some old programs and data.
WinDirStat, a free utility for Windows PCs, to the rescue!
WinDirStat crawls your storage devices and catalogs every folder on your computer, sorted by the amount of space it’s using. It also creates a graphical representation of your entire directory structure allowing users to easily spot what files are the biggest binary hogs.
Using WinDirStat I was able to identify at a glance storage gobbling folders that would have taken considerably longer to track down manually. 55GB of iOS apps? Time to clean the house iTunes built! Oops, guess I forgot about that 60GB I used to backup my music before it lived on a server in the cloud. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Blu-ray rips of Blade Runner costing me 34GB. Time to die! I even uncovered 16GB worth of forgotten video from Planetside 2 in which I spent a night trying to part a tank on top of Brandon’s drop ship. It didn’t work. Do I really need a 16GB reminder of my failings? I mean, isn’t that why I have a blog?
WinDirStat is available for free at windirstat.info and works on everything from Windows 95 to Windows 7 (and, probably, Windows 8). A recommended alternative for Mac computers is Disk Inventory X or GrandPerspective while Linux users should apt-get their butts over to KDirStat.