Space maker

It's always a terrible feeling when you realize that you're about to run out of room on your hard drive, and it's even worse when you have no idea what's taking up all that space. WinDirStat Portable is a lightweight program that lets users quickly identify the biggest space hogs on their machines and then take action to tidy things up.

The program's interface is plain and utilitarian. When the program is launched, a dialog box asks users to select the drives or folders they want to analyze. The program then scans the selected locations … Read more

Featured Freeware: WinDirStat

WinDirStat identifies how much disk space you're using and what it's being used for. Based on the Linux application KDirStat, and also available in a portable version, this great piece of freeware offers you an informative visual display of your hard-drive usage. It can also analyze local devices. Depending on the size of your disk, the initial WinDirStat scan may take quite a while, so be prepared to go grab a cup of coffee for 5 to 10 minutes.

When you return, you'll see all of your files for the selected drive or directory displayed in a … Read more

WinDirStat knows what's eating your memory

Over the weekend, I found myself on a digital precipice. My laptop's hard drive had maxed out its 90GB, there were less than 5 to go. My external hard drive, The Tank, was about to get tanked: Out of the 250GB it could hold, I was down to less than 4. I still needed to upload a bunch of RAW format photos, with each image closing in on 10MB. What to do?

I remembered a recent article we ran about good system utilities and identifying where your precious gigabytes are going. Sure enough, WinDirStat came up. I was hoping that there was some unknown cache taking up all my space, or at least enough to be able to save without fear of outrunning the hard drive's limits.

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Optimize your hard drive in three easy steps

I admit I'm a digital pack rat. I have a directory of images on my local drive devoted to LOLcats. I have gigabytes of FLAC files from live concert recordings and MP3 files from music sites such as CNET Music.

I'm good at regularly backing up my information to DVD and moving some files permanently to backups, but my 160GB hard drive is usually pushing full capacity. To keep my machine running at a speed I like (and deserve!), I have to perform regular maintenance. While there are lots of ways to optimize your hard drive, my basic method requires only three steps.… Read more