Top free troubleshooting tools for Windows
These seven handy tools help you diagnose and cure a wide range of Windows ills, and they're all free for the downloading
Where did all my disk space go? Every PC user asks this question at one time or another, and the answer can easily be found with a copy of WinDirStat. WinDirStat generates easy-to-understand graphical reports about disk usage, allowing you to see at a glance which individual files or folders hidden deep within a directory tree may be gobbling up dozens of gigabytes. A few other programs of this kind exist, but WinDirStat has consistently trumped them all.
Fire up the program and you'll be asked to select one or more drives or folders in your system, which are then analyzed for space usage. The analysis may take a few minutes or more, depending on how many files or directories are on the drive(s) in question; you can switch away and let the program run in the background. (Cute touch: The progress bars use Pac-Man icons.)
Once the analysis is done, the results appear in an arrangement known as a treemap, where the files that take up the most space show up as large colored blocks. This makes it easy to quickly spot the biggest space hogs. Click on any block and the top part of the program's window will display the corresponding file in the context of its directory, via a conventional tree-list view. You can also use the tree view to determine the relative space usage of the file or directory of your choice, so you can in effect drill down (or up) by either file size or location. Finally, files are color-coded by type, so you can see at a glance what kinds of files take up the most space.
It's also possible to do cleanup operations within the program. Right-click on a file or folder, and you can delete it -- either by sending it to the Recycle Bin or deleting it directly. You can also pop open a command line or Explorer window on the directory or file in question.
With WinDirStat, you can discover at a glance where most of your disk space is going.