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Monday, June 29, 2015

The 6 Best Free Tools to Analyze Hard Drive Space on Your Windows PC

Videos, pictures, music collections and Windows’ system files can take up all the room on your hard drive, but If you Identify the space hogs, you can do something to reclaim your resources. Here tests six free hard-drive analysis tools you can use to pinpoint the files that take up the most space.

WinDirStat
WinDirStat is a dry, boring-sounding name yet it's one of the most useful free tools you can get for Windows. As soon as it launches, it starts to scan your hard drive. creating a list of all your folders in an expanding tree-like structure. You can click a folder's ‘+' button to delve into its contents. even while it's scanning.

As the folders are analysed. they shift in order. The largest folders move to the top of the list. so you can easily identify the space hogs. In a frivolous touch you wouldn’t expect in a free Windows tool, little Pac-Man icons munch their way through the folders to show you which ones are currently being analysed it makes us smile every time we see it.

Once the analysis is complete. the bottom half of the screen is switched to a graphical representation of your hard drive. This breaks its contents down into folders and individual files the larger the block, the bigger the file. The blocks are colour-coded, too, with a key in the top-right panel so you can instantly see whether your biggest space hogs are videos, system files or something else. When you click a block, it shows you where in the folder tree the file is located. Right-clicking a block opens the file or folder in Explorer, so you can delete it or otherwise deal with it.

The colour coding applied to the various file types can change from one scan to another. which is confusing if you are using WinDirStat to scan several different computers. Red, for example, tends to be given to the biggest file on a PC and is then applied to all the other files of that type. We found this was a video on one PC but a Windows system file on another.

Folder Siza
When FolderSize starts scanning. it simply builds up a standard alphabetical list of folders in a panel on the left. Once the scan is complete, the layout is similar to that of WinDirStat. with the larger main window split into two. The bottom half has a graph view, which offers a choice of either a pie chart or a bar graph. This provides a very clear idea of which files and sub-folders hog the most space in any particular folder, while the top half shows a list of folders ordered by size. You can look inside individual folders either by clicking them or by clicking the bar or segment on the graph that represents that folder.

How it can be improved:
While it's handy that Folder Size lets you explore your folders. which helps you make informed decisions about whether to keep or remove individual space-hogging files, you lose the big picture as soon as you do so.We prefer WinDirStat, which keeps the overall view of your hard drive on screen all the time.

SpaceSniffer
This portable program. like WinDirStat, provides a graphical representation of your hard drive, but its colour-coding is less sophisticated: blue for system files, and brown for anything else. The software builds the map as it scans, so you can see the image of your drive put together as it works. which is interesting to watch but not particularly useful.

You can double-click a folder to zoom into it, then use the Back. Up or Home buttons to get back to where you were. The handy ‘More detail' and ‘Less detail' buttons provide more information and extra colour-coding. but the tiny print can be overwhelming and difficult to read. Right-clicking an individual file brings up a standard Windows context menu, letting you perform various actions such as deleting a file or opening it with another program.

How it can be improved:
You have to choose how much information you want displayed as you explore your hard drive, because a high level of detail might be right for one view but not necessarily for another, and the software doesn’t automatically choose this for you. This means you can end up spending more time switching between detail levels than dealing with your space- hogging files.

WizTree
WizTree is a small and simple program. It scans exceptionally quickly much faster than the award-winning programs. However. the results are limited to a simple list of the top 1.000 space-hogging files, which is fine if that's all you need to know, but it doesn't provide the broader picture of your entire hard drive that you get with WinDirStat.

Scanner
Scanner's minimalist approach also scans quickly and offers an attractive but somewhat complex circular graph of the content of your hard drive. Clicking sections of the graph lets you drill down into the next layer of your files and folders, but it's easy to get lost in the unfamiliar interface. Fortunately. Back and Up buttons are available to return you to your starting point. However. it doesn't have the at-a-glance clarity of WinDirStat.

TreeSize
This is another app that simply focuses on one thing. creating a list of the files and folders on your PC in order of how large they are. It does this well, and you can choose to show different levels of information, such as what percentage of space each item takes up and its size in gigabytes. However. it's a bit limited when compared to the other programs we've reviewed here.
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2 comentarios :

  1. You should try Directory Report
    http://www.file-utilities.com
    It is not free but well worth the price
    It is faster than WinDirStat

    ReplyDelete
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