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low disk spaceI’m a person who is very conscious and concerned with my available disk space. As someone who has experienced catastrophic performance issues due to not even having enough disk space for disk defragmentation 3 Excellent Defrag Utilities & Why You Still Need to Defragment In 2012 3 Excellent Defrag Utilities & Why You Still Need to Defragment In 2012 Accessing files from the hard drive is a speed limiting step in operating a computer. Hard drives used to be a major bottle neck and fragmentation of data slowed them down even further. With the... Read More to work properly, it’s something I find hard to forget. In other articles, you may have noticed the screenshots where I highlight the size and available space remaining on my local drive. I always have low disk space. I’m a hoarder.

When I’m not hoarding and saving everything I come across, I’m looking for quality disk visualization software (such as DiskSavvy). I’ve tried probably a dozen of them and none are easier and more straightforward than a little tool I’ve found called Scanner. Let me show you just what Scanner is capable of.

Scanner – Free & Portable

First and foremost, Scanner is free, portable, and only 243K in size. This alone should be reason enough to give it a spin, as you’ve got nothing at all to lose. Scanner should work just fine on every version of Windows from XP onward.

Download the archive and extract it to any folder you’d like. Run the executable and Scanner will immediately begin crawling all drives (including external and flash) on your system.

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You can interrupt the summary scan (as a scan of your entire system is called, denoted at the bottom left) and scan a single drive just by clicking on it or the blue icon next to it towards the left-hand side of the application’s interface.


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As you can see in the screenshot above, I’ve scanned my C: drive. The scan can take a while to complete (depending on your read/write speeds and the size of your drive), but you can see the result: a neat little sunburst chart.

Using your cursor, you can now hover over chunks in the chart and the folder path responsible for that chunk of disk space will be shown beneath the title bar. The largest chunks obviously represent the most disk space. If you don’t know how a sunburst chart works, they layer out from the center. From the middle, the first rung of chunks are folders in your root directory (like “User” and “Program Files”). The chunks on the next rung outward are sub-directories under those respective directories.

At any given time, you can click on a chunk on the chart to bring the focus to that specific directory.

stop low disk space

As you can see, this allows you to pinpoint directories and disk usage more finely. On the lower right-hand side, there are three buttons: parent directory, back, and rescan folder. These should help you navigate around.

To the top left of the interface, and to the right of the drive letters, are buttons for zoom effects. Clicking the plus or minus sign allows you to respectively enlarge or shrink the size of the graph.

low disk space

The buttons to the top right-hand side of the interface will open the Programs and Features window within Windows or empty your Recycle Bin Make a Better Recycle Bin With These Great Tools & Tricks Make a Better Recycle Bin With These Great Tools & Tricks Most of us are very familiar with the Recycle Bin. We use it regularly, and it seems like a feature we can’t do much to customize – deleted files go there, and we can permanently... Read More .

That really caps off the features for Scanner, but if you’re a visual person (like I am) then you can fall in love with understanding your disk space in this way. In one quick glance you’re able to see directories that are responsible for holding the most space on your disk. No numbers involved, just a visual. Clicking through the chunks is, in my opinion, always an easier way to detect over-sized folders versus looking at flat numbers.

Scanner proves that you don’t need a Swiss army knife just to clean up a bloated disk and deal with low disk space. Launch the application, hover and click through your largest visual chunks, and it’ll be practically impossible to miss a folder that shouldn’t be as big as it is.

What do you think of Scanner? Is it too simple or does it get the job done just right? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. IZR43L
    February 3, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I prefer SpaceMonger v1.4.0 it is much easier to read and see what is usung up your drive.

  2. Loenja Selter
    February 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    not a big fan of radial design myself, windirstat for me

  3. dragonmouth
    February 1, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Doesn't Windows provide an automatic alert when a disk drive or a partition reaches a preset percentage of utilization? The last time I used Windows all I had to do was to right click on disk/folder, Properties to find out the amount of space used.

    Yes, Scanner and other programs mentioned by posters do provide a pretty picture of drive utilization. But you have to remember to run them. If you don't, you can find yourself in the old predicament of being out of space and not being able to do anything about it.

  4. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    February 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    It's way more beautiful than TreeSize, and I do prefer this nice chart. Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Dr.Samuel Chandra Kumar
    February 1, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Great app! The portable works well on my 64-bit windows 7, thanks for the recommendation guys.

  6. Nevzat Akkaya
    February 1, 2013 at 7:39 am

    I usually use TreeSize for disk space analyzing, but this looks good too. Thanks.

  7. Alex Schnapps
    February 1, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Scaner is my favorite too.
    btw, with reg files included in the archive, Scaner entry can are easily added to the context menu of Windows Explorer. Scan specific folders or drives will be even faster and more convenient.

  8. heredago
    February 1, 2013 at 4:19 am

    I think that I've been using this application for more than 10 years and I've tried all the alternative and it's still my favorite one!

  9. Sas
    February 1, 2013 at 3:40 am

    Coo tool too bad it isn't for mac.