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Tools: WindirStat – Diskspace Statistics Viewer/cleaner

I ran into a problem at work this morning – my hard disk was almost full, yet again. Couldn’t do any work as the machine was crawling. I have been backing up and cleaning up, but with so many different things I do (parsing huge log files is one culprit), I just cannot keep up. Over the last 3 years, I have been working on project after project, I have too many “important” files sitting on my disk – logs, tests, versions of programs and of course screenshots and documents.

Today, I really wanted to find those and archive them and cleanup my disk. But, where do I start and where exactly are those big files hiding? If you have used Windows Explorer and Search that comes with it, you will see what I mean. So, I went on a mission to find a better tool! While researching this, I stumbled upon a nice blog about cleaning up on Windows 7.

From there, I got onto the tool WindirStat! Great tool. I see a lot of programs every day, this one stands out. Program is very nicely written and is visually appealing. It scans the drive(s) and lists out the folders and files, sorta like what Windows Explorer does. But, it also visualizes, which is where it’s strength is (looks like scandisk, but this shows files).

That visualization really helps to get to extreme corners of your hard disk easily and find those unnecessary files that may be hiding there. I was able to find some GB’s of Windows memory dump files that even Windows disk cleaner didn’t find. This should have been part of Windows!

2016-02-02 17_16_10-C_ - WinDirStat

There, I just included a screenshot of the tool in action, so you can see what I am talking about. For starters you get a full list of folders with sizes in the top grid, nicely sorted with the biggest offender on top. Those colored cells/blocks in the bottom grid are your files and folders, perfectly color-coded by file type shown on the top right. You can click these file types to “identify” them in the bottom maze. You can click your way through that maze to find those files that you want to get to. Wow!

As a programmer, I am even more intrigued by this utility, as it puts TreeMaps to a great (ca)use! If you are interested, see here for a full overload on TreeMaps!

If you are in a similar situation and in need of a tool to cleanup your hard disk, this is definitely one of the must have. And if you are looking for similar tools on Linux, If you are looking for tools on Linux, apparently KDirStat has been superceded by K4DirStat and QDirStat. And on Unix you have du. Happy (file) hunting! But, before you toss those files, please make sure to back up.

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