If you have a lot of files on your hard drive, you will probably at one point have wondered what’s in those folders you created a very long time ago. You might have some problems answering that question yourself, especially if the folder is full of millions of sub-folders and files.
Scanning through each sub-folder would take forever, and you could also skip over something that may be important to you. For cases like these, you need the right tool for the job. Thankfully, such a tool exists, and it packs some amazing features that will even make it fun to look through all those folders.
About Better Directory Analyzer
Better Directory Analyzer, which I will from now on call BDA, is a simple freeware program that scans through the contents of any selected folder and spits out more information about it than you thought was possible. All scanned files can be sorted in a handful of different ways, which helps you quickly find certain files that you may be looking for. So how is this helpful compared to Windows Search?
Although Windows XP‘s version of Windows Search actually packed more of a punch, Windows 7‘s version only lets you search by filename, file size, and date modified (without using hidden operators). Windows 7 users can find benefit the most by using BDA as there are many different parameters to search and select files.
Installation and Launch
To install, you’ll need to head over to this page and click on the download link. At the time of this article, there is only a version 1.0, which is fine. Once downloaded, double click on the file to start the installer. Go through all the steps, and you’re done. You should now have a nice shortcut for BDA on your desktop. When you first start, you’ll land in the Files tab. Here is where you can choose the folder you wish to scan for its contents.
Either drag and drop a folder into the empty box in the middle, or click on the “Select folder” button on the bottom and then choose the desired folder. It will then take a couple seconds (more if the folder is large) to scan for its contents, and when it completes you should see all the found files listed in the box in the middle.
Great, you scanned for the files, but now what? Here is where the fun really begins. In the Files tab, you can also choose the minimum and maximum sizes for the files you would like to find, as well as a range for the date modified. If you move over to the File Types tab, you’ll find a list of all the different file types found in your selected folder.
A great feature of BDA is that it can visualize many of its results in pie charts, so you can adjust the number of specific file types that should be shown, choose whether it should count the number of files or the amount of space that each file type takes up, and then hit Visualize.
Under the Duplicate Files tab, you can easily spot duplicate files and delete extras where they are not needed. This tab is amazing if you know there are some duplicates and want to regain some wasted hard drive space. Here’s a simple tip: if you know that there are some files that are duplicated in two different folders, you can create a new folder and drag the other two into the new one. Then you can scan the new umbrella folder to include the files of the two other folders.
The Hidden Files tab is virtually the same as the tab for Duplicate Files, except that it shows hidden files. You can also select these and delete them as you wish. Finally, there is a Largest Files tab, where you can choose to view any number of the top files in terms of size. This helps find some clunkers that could be moved or deleted as needed. This tab also has a Visualize button.
The last tab in the program (besides Help) is the HTML Report tab. With this tab you can create a report (in HTML, I assume) that contains any of the selected bits of information over the scanned content of the selected folder. Use this tab if you need to transmit your results for whatever reason.
Better Directory Analyzer is a fantastic tool that I recently found and will be using extensively for a while to clean out some backup folders that I have sitting on my hard drive. In terms of tools that are aimed to be used for maintenance and similar tasks, this is one of the better programs that is actually a joy to use. There aren’t any complicated settings that need to be configured, so the experience is simply “install and go”. I definitely recommend this to anyone who could benefit from using it.
What techniques do you use to tame your files? What is your favorite feature about this program? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Shutterstock
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