Have you ever wondered where your disk space is being consumed? I have. There have been plenty of times where I thought that I should have more free disk space than I actually had. I used to spend countless hours reviewing the properties of folder after folder, each time hoping to find a clue as to where my free space had gone. Well… not anymore.
I found a great little application that does the great big job of creating visuals of your hard drive consumption. It’s called TreeSize Free, and it was developed by JAM Software. In this short tutorial, I’ll walk you through some of the basic functions.
Naturally, the first step is to download the software and install it on your PC. There is nothing out of the ordinary with this install. In fact, you can leave all of the parameters at their default settings. Once you have completed the installation and launched TreeSize Free, you should see a window similar to the one below.
You might want to give it a few minutes to completely analyze your hard disk. On a 40 GB hard disk, the application completed a scan in about 75 seconds.
Taking a closer look, you can see the simplicity designed into this handy little tool. There are plenty of options for changing how you see the data. In the image above, the drive space consumption is shown in MB. Clicking on the % icon in the tool bar will allow you to see the same information, however this time it will be represented as a percentage of the whole. I personally found this format to be more informative.
Visualizing the state of a different drive is a very easy task. Simply select Scan from the menu, then select the drive you want to analyze. Once again, depending on the size of your drive, it may take a few minutes to complete the scan.
As you can see in the above screen capture, 73% of the drive space used on my d: drive is located in a folder called Storage. My virtual machines also take up an additional 14% of that utilized drive space, while Program Files consumes another 12%. I have a couple of options here. I could use the Programs and Features tool in my Windows Vista Control Panel to remove any unnecessary programs, that would reduce the size of the Program Files folder.
It’s painfully obvious that the biggest offender of consumed space is a folder called Storage. Clicking on the [+] sign, next to the Storage folder, gives a further breakdown of the space consumption.
Low and behold, the Downloads folder is the culprit! This is a folder where I temporarily store downloads before they get moved to my network storage or a portable USB drive. It looks as though I haven’t cleaned up that folder in a while.
TreeSize Free is clearly a very useful and powerful tool to assist you with hard disk space management. It will help you get right down to the roots of understanding where your storage has gone. I would highly recommend this freeware tool to anyone with hard drives to manage.