Size matters

Folder Size is a free Windows utility that scans your drives or folders and displays detailed information about the size of their contents so you can see where the disk space went. It displays the sizes of files and folders as well as their percentage of total disk size.

Folder Size uses a layout common to many such utilities, mostly because it's the most efficient design: toolbar, left-hand tree view, and main window. Folder Size displayed all our disk drives with their total size, space used, and free space listed below the tree view. We clicked on our C … Read more

Make folders for files fast

FileToFolder is an interesting bit of freeware that basically does one thing: it "folderizes" files, by which we mean it creates an individual folder for any file you apply it to. It keeps you from having to move up and down the directory, creating folders and moving files. It integrates with context menus in Windows, but you can also use its regular interface to process batches of files. FileToFolder requires Microsoft's .NET Framework 4.0, which you can download for free from Microsoft's support site if your copy of Windows lacks it.

This program's simple … Read more

Password-protect your folders with free DocLock (Windows)

If you share your PC with friends, family members, co-workers, the occasional IT guy, etc., there may be files and folders you want to keep private. You know, financial data, company secrets, certain sensitive video files--that kind of thing. (Hey, I'm not here to judge.)

Out of the box, Windows doesn't give you the tools you need to password-protect files and folders. For that, you'll need a third-party utility. Most of them cost anywhere from $30 to $50, but if you're quick with your clicking finger, you can score one absolutely free.

Today only, Giveaway of … Read more

Fast, flexible, and free sync tool

Allway Sync is a free tool that analyzes the contents of two folders simultaneously and updates both based on the latest content. Its bidirectional algorithm analyzes both folders for actual changes and synchronizes both based on your choice. An easy-to-master interface hides an extensive range of settings and options for manually and automatically synchronizing folders. Allway Sync works in 32-bit versions of Windows 2000 to 7; a 64-bit version is available, too.

Allway Sync's colorful interface displays source and destination folders in separate, identical fields. The program can access files and folders on removable drives, online sources, and other … Read more

Home and system directory names not translating in OS X

OS X supports a number of different languages, and either during installation or in the system preferences you can choose your default language in which to have the system display localized elements such as menu text and dialogue text. In addition to interface elements, Apple supports localization on some system files and folders, including the default folders in the home directory. This means that if you switch your system's language, the names Desktop, Movies, Pictures, Documents, and so on that are in your home directory should also be shown in the new language.

While this works for most people, … Read more

Tackling account access problems after an OS X update

While rare, sometimes after updating OS X either with an upgrade or with an intermediate patch users have found that an account on the system may no longer be accessible. This may be because the system refuses to accept an account password, or because the account no longer appears. While such problems may have you initially consider reinstalling OS X and restoring from a backup, you may be able to fix the problem without doing this.

Missing accounts after an update Local account information is stored in the system's directory database (located in the hidden /var/db/local/ folder), … Read more

Rename huge batches of files easily

This awkwardly named utility (now known as "Better Rename" in the Mac App Store) can be extremely useful in some very specific situations. Anyone who needs to rename large batches of files on a daily basis--especially Web developers and anybody working with lots of photos or audio files--should definitely check out A Better Finder Rename. Most of what this app does can also be done with the Finder and Automator, but nowhere near as quickly nor as easily.

ABFR offers a huge number of renaming options, everything from modifying text and adding sequence numbers to changing formats and … Read more

Sync files between computers and devices

Dropbox is a free and extremely easy-to-use tool for sharing files and syncing them between computers, and you can also use Dropbox to back up files and access them from other computers and devices (including from your iPad or iPhone, with dedicated apps for each of those devices).

Dropbox's interface is largely invisible, which is part of what makes this app so easy to use. When you install Dropbox on your Mac or Windows machine, you create a Dropbox folder. This is a local folder that lives on your desktop, but you can access the folder from other computers (… Read more

Defragging gets smarter

There are plenty of downloadable defrag utilities to choose from, but it's hard to beat the ease of use and helpful extras in IOBit's Smart Defrag.

With this utility you can quickly analyze your hard drive to check the level of defragmentation before committing to a scan. The interface shows you different colored blocks representing fragmented files, frequently used files, and more, with a helpful key to show what each colored block represents.

When you're ready to pull the trigger, you can choose from a straight defragmentation (fastest), or have Smart Defrag perform either a fast or &… Read more

Empty folder search-and-destroy

How many empty folders are in your system? Leftovers from uninstalled programs, temporary folders that moved in to stay. Wouldn't it be great if someone wrote a simple tool that finds and deletes all that junk? Someone did: Fast Empty Folder Finder scans folders, directories, and entire drives for empty folders, displays them in a list with previews, and deletes those you select.

At 111.5KB, Fast Empty Folder Finder is compact, and since it's also portable freeware, it requires no installation but runs as soon as you click its executable file. It has a very simple but … Read more