We've shown you lots of ways to free up hard drive space before, but before you go and download disk-visualising programs, you might want to do a quick search for big files. Here's how to do it on Windows and OS X.
Hard drive visualisers will show you if certain folders or file types are taking up a lot of space, but sometimes you just have a few huge files that you don't even need. In my case, as you can see in the image above, I had a duplicate of a 1GB video file, a 1GB iPad game that I don't even play, and a 1GB video project that I've long since finished. That's at least 3GB of space I've freed up right there, and all it took was a search for files bigger than 500MB.
To do this in Windows, just open up Explorer and type
size:>500MB into the search bar. You can tweak this to be anything you want, but I thought 500MB was a good starting size. Press Enter and it'll show you the biggest files first.
If you're on OS X, you have a few choices, but Mac|Life recommends creating a new smart folder -- that way you always have it on hand to check when you're running low on space. To do this, open up Finder and go to New > Smart Folder. Click the plus sign on the right side of the toolbar. Click the "Kind" dropdown and go to Other > File Size. Then, enter your file size in the box, choose "Greater Than" from the dropdown menu, and you should see all the big files on your computer. Click Save to save your smart folder in the Finder's sidebar for quick access later.
Got any other tips for quickly finding space hogs on your machine? Share them in the comments, and hit the link to check out more great uses of OS X's smart folders feature.
Organize Your Finder with Smart Folders [Mac|Life]