12 Comments

Summary:

I just reclaimed over 57 gigabytes of storage capacity on my Windows Media Center Edition desktop. How did I do it? I needed some help, actually. The 250 GB drive was only showing about 60 GB free and I knew full well that I didn’t have […]

Vis_dir I just reclaimed over 57 gigabytes of storage capacity on my Windows Media Center Edition desktop. How did I do it? I needed some help, actually. The 250 GB drive was only showing about 60 GB free and I knew full well that I didn’t have any recorded HDTV on the drive; the biggest consumer of space on that box. So what the heck was going on? Where was all my free space? I did the standard bit of nosing around through Windows Explorer, but ironically finding tens of gigs of used space in the folder hierarchy was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Enter Visual Directory Explorer (aka: VisDir), a small bit of freeware that graphically displays your file system’s usage.

VisDir is a small executable; barely a megabyte, weighing in around 915 Kb after installation. For such a small package, it packs a huge punch by quickly scanning the drive or drives of your choice. My 250 GB drive contains over 5,200 unique folders and VisDir can scan them and display the usage in about 15 seconds. The result of the scan is a usage graph of drive’s capacity, in either pie, horizontal or vertical bar. The graph appears on the right side of the GUI, while the folder structure appears on the left. You can expand or contract the folder structure as needed to graphically display the relative amount of storage used in a folder or a sub-folder. You can also navigate by directly clicking on the appropriate folder in the pie chart. Hovering over any piece of the pie or graph causes the status bar (at the bottom of the GUI) to show the current folder name as well as how much space it takes.

I was sleuthing on my drive manually for about 15 minutes to find out what was taking up so much space. After only two minutes with VisDir, I found a folder that had over 57 GB of recorded television. This data should have been removed when I uninstalled the DTV capture program a few days ago, but clearly it wasn’t. Additionally the folder was buried so deep in the drive structure, it would have taken me much longer to find manually.

Even if you don’t think you have any chunks of data just wasting space on your hard drive, consider a free download of VisDir; just navigating through your drive with it can be very enlightening! Visual Directory Explorer works with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, and XP.

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  1. Mike “MikeScott8″ Hamilton Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    I like and use TreeSize http://www.jam-software.com/treesize

    seems like the new versions (based on comments on http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/TreeSize/1017306750/1) of the free one nags every run trying to sell the pro version. I guess I have an older version as mine doesn’t.

    A little digging at thier site, leads that they also have a free version (one I have) in addition to the personal and professionnal versions. The personal does not support network drives and is free while the Professional version must be purchased to get netwrok drive support.

  2. Mike “MikeScott8″ Hamilton Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    I like and use TreeSize http://www.jam-software.com/treesize

    seems like the new versions (based on comments on http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/TreeSize/1017306750/1) of the free one nags every run trying to sell the pro version. I guess I have an older version as mine doesn’t.

    A little digging at thier site, leads that they also have a free version (one I have) in addition to the personal and professionnal versions. The personal does not support network drives and is free while the Professional version must be purchased to get netwrok drive support.

  3. Josh Einstein Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    This looks very similar to (or exactly like) a program that StarDock has included in their “Object Desktop” subscription for some time. I personally love this kind of tool. It’s the only really effective way to find wasted space.

  4. Mike “MikeScott8″ Hamilton Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    I like and use TreeSize http://www.jam-software.com/treesize

    seems like the new versions (based on comments on http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/TreeSize/1017306750/1) of the free one nags every run trying to sell the pro version. I guess I have an older version as mine doesn’t.

    A little digging at thier site, leads that they also have a free version (one I have) in addition to the personal and professionnal versions. The personal does not support network drives and is free while the Professional version must be purchased to get netwrok drive support.

  5. Mike “MikeScott8″ Hamilton Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    I like and use TreeSize http://www.jam-software.com/treesize

    seems like the new versions (based on comments on http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/TreeSize/1017306750/1) of the free one nags every run trying to sell the pro version. I guess I have an older version as mine doesn’t.

    A little digging at thier site, leads that they also have a free version (one I have) in addition to the personal and professionnal versions. The personal does not support network drives and is free while the Professional version must be purchased to get netwrok drive support.

  6. Mike “MikeScott8″ Hamilton Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    I like and use TreeSize http://www.jam-software.com/treesize

    seems like the new versions (based on comments on http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/TreeSize/1017306750/1) of the free one nags every run trying to sell the pro version. I guess I have an older version as mine doesn’t.

    A little digging at thier site, leads that they also have a free version (one I have) in addition to the personal and professionnal versions. The personal does not support network drives and is free while the Professional version must be purchased to get netwrok drive support.

  7. I use a program called FolderSizes which is not free but does the same thing.

  8. For disk usage graphs, I use the open source WinDirStat. http://windirstat.sourceforge.net/

    I’ll give VisDir a shot, too.

  9. I agree WinDirStat is really cool

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