How to determine where all your hard drive space has gone in Windows

by Skyler Huse on November 20, 2008

Windows

WinDirStat (short for Windows Directory Statistics) is a “disk usage viewer” that can help you visualize your used hard drive space. This allows you to track down which directories and file types are taking up the most space. Also, it’s a fun thing to see! You can download it here. WinDirStat runs on “all current variants” of Windows.

As seen in the image below, in the upper-right window, flac files are taking up the most space (compared to all other file types) on my hard drive.

windirstat
click to enlarge

After you run WinDirStat, you will be presented with an option between showing all your drives, individual drives, or even a folder. After you select a drive it begins scanning. This may take a few minutes, but you get a nice pac-man looking animation by your folders.

select drives in windirstat

There is a lot you can do inside WinDirStat. You can browse through all of your folders and the files will be outlined in the visualization. Moving your mouse over a block in the visualization will display the file’s path and name in the lower left corner, and you can even delete files right in WinDirStat!

windirstat displaying a specific block of files
click to enlarge

This application is mainly just for fun, but it can also be useful for tracking down big files. Just make sure not to delete any important files!

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  • http://bob.com bob the concerned citizen

    i use foldersizes but eh this piece of pie looks tasty

  • Danny

    You might also want to take a look at Sequoiaview developed at the Eindhoven University of Technology, which provided the first implementation of the squarified treemap layout and the cushion shading shown above.

  • Jake

    Sequoiaview is USELESS

  • http://chriswhalen.ca Chris

    I personally like SpaceMonger the best.