Time Saving Tuesday

One of the things that’s always nice to know is what you can remove from your hard drive to quickly regain hard drive space. Maybe there are some enormous games on your computer that you don’t play anymore, or files you’ve downloaded that have never gotten deleted? By using hard drive visualization tools you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly what is eating up your hard drive storage.

There are a lot of different programs that can be used for this purpose, and we thought it would be better to put together a more comprehensive list instead of just covering one or two of our favorites. We’ve broken them up according to operating system below, and for each one we provide a brief description accompanied by a screenshot. That way you’ll be able to figure out which free app is right for you.

Note: You can click on a screenshot for a full-size version.

–Windows Hard Drive Visualization–

  • JDiskReport [Homepage]
    This is a Java-based tool that gives you a few different options for visualizing your hard drive. The screenshot below shows the typical pie graph, but you can also switch to a distribution graph. As you drill into folders it will update the graph accordingly.
  • WinDirStat [Homepage] [Full Review]
    This free program is pretty cool because of how it breaks up your hard drive into chunks so that you can see at a glance where the large space-hogging chunks are. The various types of files are also color-coded for easy identification.
  • SpaceMonger [Homepage]
    This definitely isn’t the most glamorous application we’ve seen, but the way it breaks up the view of your hard drive is very intuitive. Just like with WinDirStat the boxes are proportionally sized to the percent of the hard drive they consume, but what’s nice about this is that some of the files and folders are clearly labeled on the diagram.
  • TreeSize Free [Homepage]
    TreeSize is a more Windows Explorer-like interface for finding those large folders on your computer. As you can see in the screenshot below it puts the largest folders at the top of the list, and you can continue to expand them to see the largest files and folders inside each of those.
  • OverDisk [Homepage]
    What really makes OverDisk unique is that it’s visualization method looks more like a pie chart that has exploded. You can use the navigator along the left side of the window to traverse through the directories on your PC, and the chart will adjust accordingly.

–Mac Hard Drive Visualization–

  • Disk Inventory X [Homepage]
    Look at this the same way as the WinDirStat application for Windows above. It has the same visualization technique, and color-codes the files based upon their type.
    disk inventory x.png
  • GrandPerspective [Homepage]
    Yet another block visualization tool. It’s very similar to Disk Inventory X, and both have nearly the same features and interface.
  • JDiskReport [Homepage]
    That’s right, you saw this program in the Windows section above as well. Since it’s made using Java it’s available on multiple platforms which is a nice benefit. It uses standard pie graphs and distribution charts to plot the data on your hard drive.

–Linux Hard Drive Visualization–

  • KDirStat [Homepage]
    This is the original application that used the block-like view many of the different programs mentioned above now incorporate. It also comes with some cleanup utilities to help reclaim the disk space.
  • Baobab [Homepage]
    Baobab has a clean and intuitive interface for navigating through the folders on your computer. For each line it has a color-coded bar that indicates how much space it is taking up, or you can always switch over to one of the more graphical views. The best part is that this is already included with the GNOME desktop, and is referred to as the Disk Usage Analyzer.


So those are the best hard drive visualization tools that we’ve come across throughout the years. Let us know in the comments what you use to find the pesky files and folders taking up all of your precious hard drive space.