WinDirStat 1.1.2

Storage space diagnostic and clean-up tool for Windows computers

  • Category:

    CD & DVD

  • Version:

    1.1.2

  • Works under:

    Windows 2000 / Windows NT / Windows 2003 / Windows XP

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free
  • Vote:
    5.8 (16)

Windirstat, as its contracted title implies, is a Windows directory analyzer. The software digs through a computer's various files and folders, identifies how much space those digital entries are occupying, and it returns a graphically represented interpretation of the collated drive statistics. With the directory usage analyzer installed, users can see how their hard drive resources are being consumed, how much drive space remains available, and they can even run an in-program cleanup utility.

It's a mind-numbingly frustrating experience, the hopping from one folder to another within the Windows file explorer interface in search of wasted hard drive space. For starters, even if a folder is full of hundreds of obsolete files, that doesn't mean a computer user can gain masses of free space by deleting those drive entries. Perhaps each of those files only takes up a few kilobytes. In which case, there's no way a cleanup operation on such a folder will yield substantial results. Using Windirstat instead of blindly navigating a File Explorer window, the contents of an entire hard drive are analyzed and loaded into a group of on-screen workspaces as graphically interpreted data. The information is colored and organized, listed and drawn into blocks on an easy-to-decipher, visually-oriented interface.

Having downloaded the open-source drive analysis tool, it installs quickly. That's not surprising, considering the software takes up less than 1MB of disk space. On running Windirstat for the first time, a "Select Drive" prompt pops up on the screen. Use this dialog to analyze a primary hard drive. Alternatively, if they're connected to a USB port, the utility will also list any attached flash drives or portable hard drives. From here, the disk analysis interface shows an animated list of all accessible Windows directories. There's even a Pacman-like icon pacing each line of the operation as Windirstat parses each and every directory. Depending on the size of a computer's hard drive, this phase can take time. For hard drives that are larger than 1 terabyte, expect a five-minute wait.

The three-panel display comes next, with its familiar directory list view on top. To the right, an extensions list shows the user which file types are occupying more space than others. Media files tend to dominate this list view. Below, taking up most of the screen's real estate, the color-coded treemap panel immediately draws the user's eye. It's in here that rectangular blocks grow when they represent larger files and directories. Conversely, the smaller rectangles stand for smaller information blocks. To associate the color of the rectangle with its file type, look for the hue and its related file format in the right-side panel.

Finally, the directory list and treeview panel can be used together to descend into various subdirectories and find the those larger, deletable items. From here, the in-program cleanup tool takes care of the rest.

Pros
  • Small open-source disk analysis tool
  • Visually oriented
  • Includes directory cleanup functions
Cons
  • Not updated often
  • Slow to scan larger drives

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