Free up Low Disk Space with WinDirStat

A free open source software that scans all directories in Windows and outputs statistics.
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How many times have you run out of disk space on your Windows PC? Maybe the computer isn't yours, but you're helping your friend or family clean up an old computer with low disk space?. Your best bet is to delete unnecessary files from your computer to clear up additional hard drive space. Though it is not always clear where these files can be found, the usual suspects of unnecessary disk usage include:

  1. Files leftover from software installations
  2. Programs that leave files behind during updates (such as antivirus software)
  3. A forgotten folder of pictures or videos
  4. Log files (especially if you're running a webserver)

A free Windows software WinDirStat (Windows Directory Statistics) is the perfect application. It's open source, lightweight, and the installation process is fast. The installer can be downloaded from a reputable open source website SourceForge.

Once installed, you specify the drive (in case you have multiple disks) so WinDirStat can analyze the disk. Though the disk scanning process may take substantial time based on disk drive size, the results are beautiful. You are presented with a heatmap of files grouped in boxes. The easiest way is to start with the largest colored box (which will highlight the directory) and provide an overview of the files. You can then determine if the group of files are log files or other unnecessary files for deletion. WinDirStat gives you the fastest way to visualize disk space.

The biggest downfall to the software is the scanning does take awhile. Factors may depend on your computer. Generally, the older the computer, the longer it takes to scan (and vice versa). Also, once the statistics have been generated, because WinDirStat is not a disk space monitor, there's no way to save or track the results for later. Additionally, you have to install the software, and it isn't available as a portable installer.

But what WinDirStat excels at is clearly depicting folders (hierarchically) that contain files that collectively consume a lot of space. It makes digging through folder structures a thing of the past. And the result is you will have a clean disk drive, ready for more photos, videos, and applications.

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