WinDirStat: Analyze your Windows directories -- visually!

WinDirStat: Analyze your Windows directories…Visually! Some of the tools we come upon in IT are not always the most complex and loaded with hundreds of features. That is simply because not every function in IT demands a hundred features in an application. Nevertheless, many times we are left wondering with certain tools, what exactly is going on in my system? Where are things living in that endless amount of disk space? And how efficient are my disks running. One great open source tool to help deliver those answers is a tool called WinDirStat. While the tool at first seems to be a third party version of the disk defragmenter tool in Windows. This tool is actually so much more. To start with WinDirStat give you a breakdown of size, percentage, items, files and subdirectories on a hard drive. It also lets us know when the last change was made to a directory. Once the test is completed WinDirStat displays a graph with a physical, color coded representation of all the various file types. So you can see a visual representation of you documents, virtual machines, pdf’s or anything else you can think of on that hard drive. I worked for one firm that had a policy of letting employees put just about anything on the file server. The reasoning was that the long hours demanded of the staff meant they should be lenient about jpgs or music files. Many times it was hard to explain to management that although hard drive space is cheap, it was not free. To be able to show through a visual map exactly how much space certain files were taking is far superior than trying to explain GB’s and MB’s. Especially when you are going to your boss and saying we have employees storing 200GB’s of music on our 1.5TB storage array. In this matter percentages do not work either (not in a direct comparison anyway). However, if you can show visually that MP3 files take up 19% of the storage space and all of the companies’ documents take only 4% that could have a strong impact. WinDirStat, has tools to allow you to launch command prompts, cleanup the drive and even open Windows explorer to see the directory where the file resides. The tool can be used on network drives using UNC paths. You can download WinDirStat for free at http://windirstat.info/ .

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