The dreaded moment has come and you can't download a movie you want to watch, or install some games you want to play because your hard drive is full. What's worse, you have no idea what to delete to make some room. Thankfully there are several apps you can turn to that will give you a good idea what's using all of your drive space. Here are the top five, based on your nominations.
SpaceSniffer is a free, portable Windows utility that uses a tree view to show you which areas on your hard drive take up the most space. Just scan your hard drive with the tool to see your drive arranged in squares that represent which files and folders are using the most space. Click on any large block to see a breakdown of what's inside that folder, also organised by what's taking up the most space. You can also filter specific types of files from the scan, tag files and label them for review later, and search specifically for file types, modification dates and more.
Space Monger (Windows)
SpaceMonger is another free, Windows-only disk management utility that uses a tree map to show you where the biggest, most space-hogging files are located. It hasn't been updated in several years, but that doesn't mean that the app isn't still useful. It doesn't support 64-bit systems, but if you're running 32-bit Windows you should be OK. SpaceMonger's claim to fame is that it doesn't just allow you to see a treemap of your data, but you can manage, move, copy and delete that data from inside the app.
TreeSize is a robust drive analysis tool that comes in multiple flavours. The free version is also portable, and gives you a quick, directory-oriented view of your hard drive arranged by the folders that take up the most space. Behind the folder names are progress bars that display their relative size to one another, so you can quickly pinpoint the ones that take up the most space. You can also expand any folder in the directory list to see its contents. TreeSize Professional and TreeSize Personal offer the features of the free vesion, plus the ability to export reports of your drive layout, see additional statistics on file types, ages and modification dates, command line scanning and other features. TreeSize Personal will set you back $US24.95 for a single user licence and support, and TreeSize Professional will cost you $US52.95 for a single user licence and support. TreeSize Free is, as the name implies, completely free.
DaisyDIsk is the only Mac utility to make the top five, but it's a great utility. The app, like most other disk utilities, scans your drive and displays its content in order of what's taking up the most space, but instead of using a tree map, you get a fan-view (the developer calls it a "sunburst map") that extends out to the centre, with similar files and folders grouped together at the base so you can see how they're organised on the drive. DaisyDisk also lets you clean up large and unwanted files quickly, and analyse multiple disks and drives at the same time. Daisy Disk will usually set you back $19.99, but it's on sale now for $9.99 in the Mac App Store.
WinDirStat is free, lightweight, and comes in a portable version. It shows you the contents of your drive in three views: a directory view, which displays your folder contents organised by how much space they're consuming; an extension list that will show you what's inside of the selected directory and how much of what types of files you're using; and a graphic view at the bottom that shows the contents of your drive in coloured blocks that you can highlight or click on for additional information. Hover over a group of blocks to see the folder they're in, or select a specific one to see what it is.
Honourable mentions this week go out to DiskSpace Fan for Windows, a utility we've mentioned before which offers a similar fan-view of your drives and their contents as DaisyDisk does on the Mac. Another honourable mention goes out to Disk Inventory X on the Mac, which is completely free and inspired by WinDirStat.
Have something to say about the contenders that we missed, or did you favourite utility not make the top five? Sound off in the comments below.