Sometimes it seems as if hard drives fill up by themselves; an installation here, a back up there, and the amount of free space disappears in the blink of an eye.
But the worst part isn’t discovering the lost space. Rather, it’s not knowing where it’s been lost, and finding the files that take up the most space can be a daunting task.
Luckily, there’s SpaceSniffer, a visualizer that helps you identify, in seconds, which files and folders are taking up space on your hard drive.
Going folder by folder is impractical
What’s the first thing you do when you want to see how much space a folder’s occupying? Right click on its icon, choose Properties and see how much space it occupies.
Sure, its an option, but it’s pretty impractical: a PC with hundreds of installed applications can have thousands of folders, and you can’t open every single folder to see which one takes up the most space– you’d go crazy.
The secret’s in the (tree) map
There’s a better representation of file and folder size and type than individual checks: treemaps. This is what a typical treemap looks like:
Tree maps often use colors to add information
A tree map is a rectangle cut into pieces of proportional size. It’s like a cake cut it into pieces that reflect the size of each portion.
In the case of a hard drive, the graphic represents the sizes of files and folders, with the biggest ones occupying a proportionally larger area.
SpaceSniffer create maps of your hard drive
Spacesniffer scans your hard drive and creates tree maps of your files, maps that help you identify which folders take up the most space.
But SpaceSniffer isn’t limited to just drawing maps. Among other things, it helps you:
- Browse your drives using the map (updates only)
- Delete, copy and move files with a right click
- See which files are being read or written (they flash)
- Rapidly filter by size, name, or type
- Label folders and files (tagged)
- Export a list in text format
Scanning with SpaceSniffer is as easy as choosing which drive to scan with a double click and waiting for the results. Give it a try!
After its done scanning, SpaceSniffer will show you a map with the root path of the selected drive.
The larger squares are the largest folders
If you look at the above photo, you can plainly see which folder takes up the most space. In my case, for example, I would start by deleting the Dropbox folder, a large program I no longer use. Right click on the picture and choose ‘Delete‘– it’s as simple as that!
When you delete a folder from SpaceSniffer, the map is automatically updated, filling the void you just left. If you delete files from Windows, for example, you’ll see the Windows box gradually shrinking.
The incredible power of filters
To facilitate the search for large files and folders, you can use SpaceSniffer’s filter function, an incredibly powerful and useful feature.
Examples of filters:
- * . jpg ( show JPG images)
- > 30mb (show files larger than 30 mbs)
- < 6 months (show files created less than six months ago
- hidden ( show hidden files)
Filters can also be combined. For example, “>50mb *.dat <3months” searches folders larger than 50mb created less than 3 month ago. To learn more about the filters available for SpaceSniffer, read the SpaceSniffer manual.