Tip of the Week: Use this Free PC Tool to Find Out Which Files You Should Delete Next
Fact: your PC has a limited amount of storage space. When a user runs out of space or comes close to it, they need to come up with a solution. Without taking any action, performance will lag and saving data for future projects will be impossible. By using a helpful tool like WinDirStat, you can free up space by easily identifying and then taking action with your PC’s biggest files.
Although, before we get started, we should add a disclaimer about deleting large files on a company computer. As a rule, users should first check with their company’s IT administrator before deleting anything major from their PC. Taking this precaution will avoid the deleting of any mission-critical files or apps.
WinDirStat, short for Windows Directory Statistics, is a free tool that provides you with a visual “treemap” representation of how the space on your drive is being used. You can download the app directly from the developer’s website: https://windirstat.net/download.html
When you open WinDirStat, it reads your drive’s entire directory tree and then presents it in three useful displays:
- Directory List: Resembles the tree view of Windows Explorer but is sorted by file/subtree size.
- Treemap: Shows the whole contents of the directory tree.
- Extension List: Shows statistics about the file types.
When the WinDirStat is, up and running, it will display your data in treemap view. Each file is represented by a colored rectangle and the rectangle’s size is proportional to the file’s size. These rectangles are arranged by directories and subdirectories. This makes the area of these rectangles proportional to the size of the subtrees. Plus, the color of each rectangle indicates the file type and you can easily search the corresponding color in the extension list for information regarding each rectangle.
Armed with this knowledge, you can then make informed decisions about what files to delete in order to free up hard drive space. Although, it’s important to keep in mind that deleting these large files isn’t your only option if you’re looking to free up space. If you’re hesitant to delete a large file because it’s meaningful (like a video), yet you rarely access it so it makes sense to get it off your drive, then you can always free up space by moving the file to another drive, like an external drive, a network drive, or even the cloud.
Of course, when it comes to freeing up hard drive space and improving your PC’s performance, using a tool like WinDirStat is a great place to start, but there’s still many more actions that can be taken. For professional assistance with managing your company’s data and improving the performance of your technology, give ISC a call at 502.292.5097.