I’ve put out several posts in the past relating to the subject of comparing, analyzing, and visualizing disk space on a Windows machine. There is an extremely wide range of options when it comes to this category of software, and that’s because each caters to a specific need of the end-user.
Some users prefer visuals and need charts and graphs, or others need as much numerical data as possible, and then some of us just want the information on our screen as fast as we can get it. This post applies to those of you who prefer the latter! I’m not a big fan of having my time wasted, and you shouldn’t be either. Let’s take a look at one of the fastest disk space analysis tools out there to troubleshoot low disk space problems. That software is WizTree.
WizTree works on both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and 8. As every application should by now, it comes with a portable version. No hard installation is required, but that’s all up to you.
WizTree interface design is pretty straightforward and doesn’t allow the user to get confused or intimidated by settings that stray too far outside of the norm. You can see that before even completing a scan, your local drive space is shown. I’m using over 90% of my available disk space and I’d never recommend that to anyone, by the way. Luckily, this application can give me everything I need to free up some of that.
Select a NTFS (this is important) drive and click the Scan button to begin analyzing that disk.
In just a matter of seconds, my hard drive (which is pretty large) has been completely analyzed and the most space-hogging folders are files are listed in order. You can feel free to click through folders to then see the contents of that folder listed in the same order.
This alone acts as the core functionality of WizTree and it does an excellent job of making such a task easy on the user. It’s not all that WizTree can do, however. My favorite feature of the application lies within the next tab, where you can view the 1000 largest single files on your entire system.
This is extremely useful. In this tab alone, I can make several decisions right away that could save me over 20 GB of disk space. To deal with low disk space, just cleaning my Dropbox folder and clearing some old patch files from Diablo III and a few other games would relieve a huge chunk of space, and it wouldn’t cross my mind without WizTree.
Running this tool and deleting unnecessary, fat files and folders before any disk management scan, like a defrag or error check, could cut off a huge fraction of the time it would take to complete the operation.
In the Options menu, you’re able to enable the Windows Explorer context menu that will allow you to delete, copy, and perform other basic operations on files from directly within the application. Other options allow you to change the way data is measured on your hard drive.
WizTree is a portable application that I’ve added to my collection and I plan for it to stay there. While the features seem very narrow and limited, the speed and effectiveness at which it performs is really something to be appreciated. Other applications that have the responsibility of crawling through your entire hard drive have taken much longer in my experiences, and I’m very glad I’ve discovered this one.
Xinorbis is a very well-known alternative that offers more information, and lets you analyze your disk space at a different angle. It’s a much more technical application that can generate full reports on the status of your hard drive. Where I’d consider WizTree to be the perfect application for finding space-hogging folders and files, Xinorbis fits a broader analysis of the hard drive. It’ll tell you practically everything you need to know.
Scanner is another alternative that takes your disk space and allows you to visualize it through sunburst charts. I’ve found it to be much slower than WizTree, and the way you have to navigate through folders using Scanner just isn’t as effective as WizTree (in my opinion). Again, it’s a good piece of software but it approaches the situation differently and perhaps even complicates things.
What do you think of WizTree’s speed and features, and how it compares to its alternatives? Let me know in the comments!