Windows Explorer is nice, but have you ever wanted a graphical depiction of the files on your hard drive? Even if you’ve never thought about it, I think most people would agree this image is pretty sweet.
Yes, that’s right. WinDirStat is a freeware application available at windirstat.info which scans your hard drive(s), makes a list of all the files contained therein, and then displays a colorful “map” of every file! The files are shown as boxes, with the size of each box representing its relative filesize. For example, the long cyan boxes towards the bottom of my map are pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys, two ginormous (~4GB apiece) Windows system files. (pagefile is used for pagination (essentially, it’s virtual memory); hiberfil is used for hibernation).
When I reinstalled Windows, I allocated 100 GB to drives C: and D:. Since I’ve filled nearly all my space on the former, the total area of my map is close to that—100 GB.
Clicking a box navigates to that file in the text-based explorer pane. From there, the following controls apply:
+ key: Zoom map in a directory
- key: Zoom map out a directory
* key: Go to child directory
/ key: Go to parent directory
Here I’ve clicked on a file in the Phantasy Star Online 2 directory (that cluster of blue files on the previous screenie), and pressed the ‘+’ key to zoom the map in.
All these files have no extension, and as the key in the upper-right pane will tell you, files with extensions of “.” or “.iso” show in blue.
* * *
Whenever you click on a file in either the map pane or the explorer pane, WinDirStat will automatically navigate to that file in the other pane as well. Standard options exist for viewing Properties of a file/directory, copying the full path, opening in Windows Explorer, opening in Command Prompt, deleting to Recycle Bin, and deleting permanently.
On the whole, WinDirStat is an excellent solution for viewing used and available disk space, identifying massive files that may not be needed anymore, and managing files. Besides that, the “treemap”, or graphical map, of a drive that it produces is really fun to view and explore! :)
Definitely check this one out. A portable version is also available at PortableApps; at only 2MB installed, it should easily fit on your USB drive.