Posted by: gregboyko | September 13, 2011

Managing your hard disk space

With hard drives now commonly 2 and even 3 TB in size, I sometimes wonder how anyone could ever run out of disk space. But then again, we’re doing more with our computers and creating and storing more digital data than ever before. Our photos are all digital. Our entire music collections are on our drives, available instantly. And the real source of disk space usage is video. Home videos, recorded TV, purchased shows, ripped DVDs, etc. It all adds up. And we do sometimes run out of space. And add fast (but low-capacity) SSDs to the mix, and it’s not hard to see why we still run out of disk space.

So what’s the best solution if you find yourself out of space? There are several, but there’s one that should almost always be your first course of action: delete the junk you don’t need. But how do you know what you don’t need? And how do you find the largest files to delete (so you get the most bang for your buck)? One of the best answers I’ve found so far is a great tool call WinDirStat (http://windirstat.info/). This utility provides a graphical representation of the files on your disks, as well as a conventional tree view. The UI makes finding the largest folders and files easy, and then all you have to do is decide if you need the files anymore. If not, just delete them. Chances are you’ll be able to recover many gigabytes with only a few minutes of work.

WinDirStat is simply awesome, and definitely worth downloading if you want to find out why you’re out of disk space!

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