Having sufficient hard drive space is the desire of every computer user. Who doesn’t constantly check to find out whether there is enough disk space left for a new application, picture, or anything else?
With a good analyzing tool, you can conveniently examine what is taking up most of the room in your hard drive, and take appropriate actions to reclaim your resources.
Here are four of the best free tools you can use to scan your hard drive and pinpoint files and folders unnecessarily consuming extra space on your Windows machine.
WinDirStat is a powerful, free tool you can use to analyze the space available in your hard drive.
You can download it from here.
It has a simple, beautiful interface, which enables you to see exactly what’s consuming drive space. After you’ve launched WinDirStat, it will begin to scan your hard drive, and display the results in three panes.
The top-left pane displays a directory list displaying the size occupied by folders and files. The biggest folders are at the top of the list, allowing you to easily identify the big space consumers.
The top-right pane displays the various file types on your local disk, together with the amount of space they consume.
The bottom pane displays a “treemap”, which is a color-coded representation of what is using the drive’s space.
For instance, if you click on any directory in the directory list, and click the ‘+” button to expand its contents, you’ll see a corresponding area highlighted in the treemap. You can click any area on the tree to see the folder or file it represents.
If you want to delete any folder or file from your hard disk, right-click on it and select the “Delete” option.
This free tool displays the data associated with the space occupied by files and folders in a nice-looking visual treemap. This way, you can easily identify which items are consuming the largest amount of space in your hard disk.
You can download the tool from here.
As you can see from the above screenshot, after the scanning process is complete, SpaceSniffer utilizes blocks of various sizes to demonstrate the sizes of the files (default color is blue) and folders (default color is brown).
If you want to get more information about any particular file or folder, just double click its respective block, and you’ll be sent deeper the rabbit the hole—to eventually right click to access other options like “Delete”.
You can do filtering to get some specific results. For example, on the filter field, you can type *.jpg and press enter, and the results will have only JPEG files.
In case you want to export the results, then under the “File” tab, click “Export to file”, and follow the prompts.
TreeSize, the free version, is another excellent tool you can use to analyze your hard disk space. It has a slick interface to assist you quickly keep an eye on your hard drive usage.
You can download it here.
Once a scan is completed, TreeSize will display the results for your analysis. The section on the left shows the amount of space each folder occupies—with the colored bar visualizing the extent of the occupied disk space. You can click on a folder to open it and see the sub-folders. You’ll notice that longer and opaque bars represent larger folders, and vice versa.
The three visualization options available are pie chart, bar chart, and treemap. The option you choose will be displayed at the center of the tool.
Under the “Extensions” view, you’ll find different types of files, and the size of their occupied space. You can also see the amount of space every computer user utilizes under the “Users” view.
On the bottom-left section, there is a drive list that displays used and free disk space on each single drive. The S.M.A.R.T. (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a unique feature that scans the hard drive and gives its health condition. If failure is displayed in the column, it indicates that you should replace your hard drive as soon as possible.
4. Windows 10 in-built tool
Is a bird in hand worth two in the bush?
Then, if you can’t access any of the above tools for any reason, then you can use the in-built Storage settings tool that comes with Windows 10. It can be your bird in hand to assist you quickly identify the heavy space consumers in your hard drive.
To use this feature, click “Settings”, “System”, and then select “Storage” from the ensuing list. Here, you’ll be presented with a list of items consuming the drive’s space.
If you click any category, you’ll be able to see how space is utilized in the chosen drive. For instance, you’ll be presented with a list of applications available in your system, which you can sort according the space they consume.
Even though this in-built Windows 10 does not have extensive features like the others, it’s a quick way of analyzing your disk space, and save yourself the hassle of downloading and installing a third-party software.
When optimizing your space utilization on a Windows machine, it’s also important to verify user permissions for your folders or shares.
With enhanced visibility into the effective permissions and access rights accorded to users, you can ensure the security of your data and have a peace of mind that everything is in safe hands.
And, FolderSecurityViewer offers you just that!
It’s an intuitive tool that allows you to get quick and useful overview to the access rights granted to your IT infrastructure.
You can try it out (for free) today!