Recover Hard Drive Space with TreeSize [Windows]

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recover-hard-drive-space My hard drive is 100GB in total. My computer is a couple years old, and 100GB was gigantic when I bought it. I never, ever thought in a billion, trillion years, that I would use all that space.

And then, I got that fun-filed message saying,”You have less than 200MB available space on your hard drive. Please free some space, or your computer will begin to die a slow, painful, bitter death.” I paraphrase, but it’s not a fun message to read. And it was a shock to me because I wasn’t downloading tens of gigabytes of stuff – so where did my space go?

One quick download later, I figured it out. TreeSize, a great and simple application that helps you find those bulky folders and recover hard drive space. There’s a free version and a paid version, but for the basic purposes of getting rid of all the cra… I mean junk, on your computer, the free version is great.

scan

Once you download the app, run it. It automatically scans your whole hard drive (and any other attached drive you choose), and then sorts the folders by how much space they’re taking up. It searches through hidden folders, system folders, literally everything on your hard drive, to give you a complete look at the size of every folder there is — much like WinDirStat, which was covered by Jimmy a while ago.

size

TreeSize tells you how much space is being taken up by each folder, and which subfolder is the largest one. It doesn’t isolate a particular file, as the tree in the free version just doesn’t go down that far. But once you get to the offending folder, it’s usually pretty easy to figure out.

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TreeSize can open a folder for you, or even delete it for you right from within the application. This is where the warning comes in: don’t delete things just because they take up tons of space. A quick Google for most folder names, particularly ones you don’t recognize, usually provides information on what a folder holds and whether or not you can afford to delete it.

delete

The reason I love applications like this is because most of the space on my hard drive isn’t devoted to music, or movies; it’s devoted to old system restores, leftover logs from applications that I don’t use anymore, and more useless files that happen to make their way onto my system. I don’t need them, I don’t notice they’re gone, and about ten minutes ago, I freed up over 16GB of space by deleting a few of them.

The paid version, which costs $23 for a single license, provides even more detailed and visual information about how your hard drive is set up and filled, as well as a few useful features like a duplicate file search (though DoubleKiller can do this as well and free). But for finding and deleting those black holes on your hard drive, the functionality and usefulness are essentially the same.

TreeSize can make your computer run faster, free up space for more music, documents, and fun things, and avoid the disastrous slow-down and crash of your hard drive as it constantly spins, looking for massive files you don’t need anyway.

Am I the only one with this problem of random, huge files taking up all the space on my computer? What do you use to fix (or better yet, avoid) this problem? I would love to find out if there any better tools out there to recover hard drive space, so let me know in the comments!

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Comments (21)
  • cristiano007

    Here’s the link to download the freeware Scanner by Steffen Gerlach: steffengerlach.de/freeware/. Again, nice, light and very useful.

  • Atraktos

    Nasty. Nah, I don’t think so. I just speak my mind. As I said there are far better alternatives compared to even the paid edition and in the end, any freeware search program like Locate32 or Everything will point out those biggies easily any time. I found it pointless, just because we emphasized on an inferior utility. You can actually have the job done easily without spending a dime.

  • Philly Cheesesteak

    doesn’t compressing your files stop you from using them? Dont you then have to decompress them everything you need to use them? I believe if you can afford to compress a file, then you probably dont really need it….move it to an external HD then.

    • Ryan P

      Philly Cheesesteak, if you compress like Jalley suggested, then NO, it doesn’t stop you from using them. It’s NTFS compression. It can reduce the space used on a drive WITHOUT having to Zip/Rar/etc them. (The only downside of using NTFS compression is that files are slower to access, since they are uncompressed automatically before opening.)

      I use NTFS compression (like Jalley suggests) on my external/storage/backup drives, but rarely use compression on my ‘main’ Windows drive. (You can choose to compress a file, folder, or drive… if you wanted to.)

  • Joey

    By the way, in the latest version TreeSize Free is able to drill down to file level in its tree.

  • Jalley

    The free utility “Advanced SystemCare” comes with a very handy, similar tool simply called Disk Explorer. Following installation of the program, click on the “Utilities” button, and then click the “Admin Tools” tab. Once you’ve initiated the Disk Explorer feature, it will scan your HDD and provide a detailed report as to what files are consuming the most space. A cool feature will also organize the 100 largest space-takers in order, allowing for easy deletion/clean-up.

    • David Pierce

      Great idea – thanks for this! I like the 100 largest thing in particular; off to give it a go!

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.