Free Up Hard Disk Space Effectively
Although hard disks are rather large, managing the disk space effectively is always a good idea. Running out of disk space is just one concern, disk speed is another. So free up some space when you have the time.
The quickest way to free up hard disk space is of course to remove some large files. But how do you know which files are taking up most of the disk space? No Windows tools can tell you this. So the best option is to use a 3rd party tool, like JDiskReport. JDiskReport is a free, Java based, application that can scan you hard disk for large files. Another option is TreeSize, a program we discussed earlier.
Start by downloading JDiskReport, and in case you do not have the Java runtime installed, you will need to install that too. The program can be installed with all the default options.
Once installed, double-click the icon on your desktop, and follow the program instructions to select a disk or folder to scan and wait for the results to come up.
Keep in mind that the scan can take some time on a full, large size, hard disk.
Once the scan completes, you will see the results in a nice pie chart.
You can now drill down by selecting the various folders for more details.
A very useful option however, is the Top 50 tab. This will show the largest files in the selected folder. This allows you to quickly find the files that take up a lot of disk space and check if they are required or not.
If you have located a file that you want to delete, you can right-click the file or folder, and select Open Explorer in the popup menu. This will open a Windows Explorer window, where you can then delete the file.
Warning: Before you delete any files or folders, make sure you create a backup and check if the file is really not required anymore. For user files this can be simply determined, but if you remove installation files or other files, it is not always easy to check if a file is required.
In the case of programs files, always first try uninstalling the program from the Control Panel. Then check again with JDiskReport if any setup files are left behind.
Other Program Options
There are a few more features in JDiskReport that can be used. The first is the Size Dist tab. This will show a graph that represents the distribution of file sizes. This is not directly of any practical use, but it can tell you if a folder consists of mostly large files or a lot of small files.
The next tab is called Modified, which shows a distribution of the files according to their last usage. This is more useful as you can see whether or not you have a lot of files that are rarely used. That information can then be used to check which files are hardly ever used, so you can perhaps move them to an offline location.
Keep in mind that with almost all functions, you can simply drill down on more detail by clicking subfolders in the Folder pane on the left. Some reports are only available up to 3 levels deep, which is a pity, but can still be helpful.
JDiskReport can also save the scan results so you can retrieve it later. Especially for large hard disks, where the scan takes time, this is useful.
JDiskReport can be used on almost any storage device, so if you want to clean up your USB stick or external hard disk, go right ahead and run JDiskReport on it.
Lastly… don’t forget to run a disk defrag after removing files, as this will help use the freed up disk space in the most effective manner.