Banking

Mine your HD for space hogs with cross-platform JDiskReport

Storage may be cheap, but right now every penny matters. That is why it is vital to have a good disk auditing utility in your toolbox. Just in time for spring-cleaning, William Jones offers his favorite.

Storage may be cheap, but right now every penny matters. That is why it is vital to have a good disk auditing utility in your toolbox. Just in time for spring-cleaning, William Jones offers his favorite.

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I’ve mentioned JDiskReport before on this blog, in a list of some of my favorite utilities. While all those other programs are excellent and have their place, they aren’t apps I lean on every day. JDiskReport is a utility that I use a hundred times more often than any of those others, so I have decided it is worthwhile to evangelize its virtues to all of you in a dedicated post.

Working the help desk, there are regularly times where I need an efficient way to find large files and directories on the machines under my care. A user who’s gone a little nuts embedding images in her PowerPoint files will call me complaining that her disk is running out of space, or I’ll need to find a way to trim down a backup set that I’m archiving to DVD. It has struck me before that a user-friendly tool for auditing disk space should be built in to every operating system. Sure, there are ways to accomplish file size comparisons from the command line, but as useful as comparing numeric totals can be, examining graphical representations of disk usage is much quicker for humans like me. Since there aren’t any solutions provided to us by OS developers, a crowd of third-party tools exists to make our spring-cleanings easier.

I have two fundamental criteria that keep most options from meeting my needs, though. First, I don’t think I should have to pay anyone any money to audit the size of the files on my drives. Secondly, while I like graphics, I don’t want a treemap. That’s the representation tool of choice among the big-brained math experts who play in the field of data visualization, but I don’t find them as useful as a simple pie chart or bar graph. When I found that JDiskReport satisfied both of my core requirements and would work on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X (thanks to its implementation in Java), I was sold on it immediately.

Some of you may balk at Java being a system requirement for JDiskReport, but really, isn’t Java part of the standard build on most client machines these days? JDiskReport has a small resource footprint when it’s not actively scanning your file tree, and the executable is svelte as well. Since it’s a Java applet, it doesn’t even require an install, although the Windows installer will add a useful contextual menu entry to let you start a scan easily.

Where JDiskReport really shows its value for me, though, is in its data presentation. No annoying treemaps, just pie charts you can click through to find your biggest directories, amount of audit space consumed by files of various types, and a list of the top 50 size offenders.

This program is elegant, it’s flexible, and it helps me get my work done. I’m not sure why Java developers JGoodies have decided to distribute their program as freeware when other companies charge money for similar products, but I thank them for it. If you haven’t already given this utility a look, you should.

18 comments
ygarb
ygarb

Thanks--I have been llooking for something to do this. JDiskreport is what software should be! Intuitive, clean interface, fast, useful (and free!)

garymander
garymander

I have always used Sequoia View, but I tried a few of the other suggestions. However, I think I will stick with Sequoia - it's small, quick to install and easy to read. http://tinyurl.com/yvczcg

mike
mike

Cool program but not for me. I tried it, and first off took quite a bit of time to scan my disk, unlike Windows Explorer. Secondly If I am looking for large files I'll use windows explorer search and it's features. Pretty simple really. But that's for me.

steve.cordova
steve.cordova

The Folder Size plug in that works in any Explorer window makes finding large folders (and thus large files)a snap. It just adds the folder size detail as an option for any folder view.

NCWeber
NCWeber

Sweet. I've been looking for something like this ever since Norton Utilities 2000. My only question would be, can the executable run off of a flash drive? I mean, ideally, Java should be in the same location on all Windows machines.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

I like that program personally, but will look at jdiskreport

inet32
inet32

Maybe JDiskReport is great but it wasn't clear what its great virtue is. My guess is that it must be that it can be installed and run remotely on some user's PC, although Jones doesn't make that clear. When I need to find the disk hogs on my PC I just do a search in Windows Explorer for all files over size "x" and then click on the column headers to sort by biggest file or folder or file-type or whatever.

kriticalmas
kriticalmas

there is no way to download the sw from their site

reisen55
reisen55

WINDIRSTAT although it's display can be mind-numbing. TREESIZE which is far easier to read. I have a copy on an XP BART PE boot cdrom so it is always available. Somtimes I dearly miss XTREEPRO too.

MDmd
MDmd

My initial thoughts after reading through this blog article as well. Haven't tried the program out though.

notbiology
notbiology

I just downloaded it with no problems...

ederkley
ederkley

Haven't tried any above tools but we schedule a VB script to run early each morning on main shared folders and various sets of sub-folders. The results are output to a CSV file each day so if we notice a large drop in capacity we can compare a day or a week ago to today and drill-down to the culprit. This works fine for our smallish network (100 users) but is more manual. I might one day get around to building something to automatically analyse those CSV files and report major changes in capacity (>1GB and/or 1%)... We've customised from the example scripts shown here: hxxp://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=954944

NCWeber
NCWeber

Oh yeah. I forgot about that. I have WinDirStat Portable from the PortableApps.com Web site. I carry it on my 8GB USB Flash drive.

compguy
compguy

Scanner by Steffen Gerlach

steveschwab
steveschwab

SpaceMonger works on all versions of windows including Vista64. I've been using it for years. Provides graphic representation of size. Allows you to zoom in for more detailed views. It's easy to find that huge temp file or whatever. Does not need to be installed as it works off an executable. Free version 1.4 is still readily available newest version 2.1 costs 24.95.

dave
dave

I've been using the 1.4 version now for some time. I've tried others, but somehow the graphical display is the clincher for this one.

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