Monday, March 29, 2010

Consultant Tools Series: WinDirStat

If you have ever had a hard drive fill up unexpectedly, or desperately needed to free up additional space on a hard drive, you will likely appreciate WinDirStat. It is a free, light weight application that provides disk usage information.

Although the massive, inexpensive hard drives available today are making disk space less of an issue, laptop drives and expensive server drives are often relatively small and do sometimes get filled up with large files.

Old SQL Server backups and bloated SQL Server mdf and ldf files are just two examples of files that can consume a fair amount of space on a server hard drive. And there are lots of culprits on desktop or laptop computers.

I found WinDirStat several years ago while looking for an application that would help me identify the largest files on my hard drive and enable me to clean up files that I no longer needed. What I find particularly powerful and efficient is the visual representation that it provides, allowing you to quickly see large files based on their size, and also see files of the same type based on their color.

I was recently using a video application that occasionally becomes "confused", and continuously writes to a temp file on my C drive, quickly consuming 20 or 30 gigabytes of disk space, eventually filling my C drive. The temp file is always buried in some windows temporary directory, so I always have to search for it. With WinDirStat I can quickly pinpoint it based on it's graphical size, while also reviewing any other large files to determine if I can clean anything else up.

In the process, I found several gigs of other video files that were created by another video editing application. Since they were all the same color, and grouped together, it was easy to identify them and move them to a different drive with more space.

Enjoy your spring HDD cleaning!

1 comment:

binaryman said...

Directory Report is another useful tool for showing folder sizes
No confusing colored blocks