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See what your drive contains with Space Sniffer

Got a video or music library and want to see how large it is? Maybe you downloaded a huge file and cannot remember where it is? If so, Space Sniffer may be what you need.

See what your drive contains with Space Sniffer

Windows built-in File Explorer works excellent when it comes to accessing files or folders. But when it comes to finding large files and folders, it can be cumbersome. It is times like this that Space Sniffer comes in handy.

Space Sniffer is a graphic visualization tool that uses blocks in a treemap to display the contains of a drive. The larger the square, the more space it is taking up.

Now, if you are running low on disk space, Space Sniffer is just what you are looking for. Space Sniffer, with its block treemap, can show you precisely what is taking up space on your drive.

I have used graphic visualization tools for years now. They are the fastest way to find a space hog on an internal/external hard drive or USB flash drive.

One of my favorite stories is when I used a graphic visualization tool to find a space hog on a network. It turned out to be a network anti-virus client that wasn't deleting old virus definitions and affected about 75% of the network computers.

Getting started with Space Sniffer could not be any easier. Just download the ZIP file and extract it to a folder of your choice. That is it; no installation required. It works great on a USB drive!

When you start Space Sniffer, you get prompted to choose a drive or path you want to view. Once you have selected one, click Start and Space Sniffer performs a full scan. The scan can take a minute or two on massive drives.

When the treemap appears, you can hover your cursor over a file or folder to get more information. And to zoom into a folder, all you have to do is double-click on it.

The main screen inside of Space Sniffer
The main screen inside of Space Sniffer

The first time you run Space Sniffer, it opens with default settings, which can be overwhelming to many users. But if you go into the configuration menu (Edit > Configure), you can customize the display to your liking.

For example, you can change the colors used for files and folders, the look of the boxes (drop shadow, halo, etc.) and the zoom animation. You can also change the font and element size.

The configuration screen inside of Space Sniffer
The configuration screen inside of Space Sniffer

There are a couple of configuration settings I highly recommend you activate. To ensure you see everything in a drive or path, make sure the Show free space on new views and Show unknown space on new views are selected.

And when you finish configuring Space Sniffer, it writes your preferences to a configuration file. That way, it will appear the same way from now on. Or until you erase the config file.

Another cool feature is that you can export the current view in Space Sniffer to a text file. This feature is also customizable, with several built-in configurations.

Space Sniffer is freeware, but donations to the project are always welcome. Just use the link on the toolbar or the Help pull-down menu. For more information on Space Sniffer, follow the link below.

SpaceSniffer, find lost disk space the easy way

How to quickly free up space on your hard drive

Are you getting a low disk space warning in Windows? Or maybe you have been prompted to delete a previous version of Windows to gain some disk space? If so, here's how to quickly free up space on your drive.

How to quickly free up space on your hard drive

We have all been there. You are working along, and all of a sudden, a little dialog box pops out and tells you that you are low on disk space. It used to happen a whole lot more years ago when drives were smaller. But it is scary when it does pop up.

Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup user options in Windows 10

Now one way to free up some disk space quickly is to use the built-in Disk Cleanup utility. If you click on the Low Disk Space warning, it brings up Disk Cleanup with default settings.

The default settings for Disk Cleanup are pretty good and will do the job. But there are more advanced settings that can clean up even more files; you have to know how to get to them. You can also run Disk Cleanup as a Scheduled Task. Check out the links below.

Clean up Windows 7 with Disk Cleanup
Clean up Windows 8.1 with Disk Cleanup
Clean up Windows 10 with Disk Cleanup

Manually delete temporary files

The Run dialog box inside of Windows 10

If you are looking to delete the temporary files/folders quickly on your computer, here's a down-and-dirty quick way to do it. All you have to do is bring up a Run dialog box.

How to open a Run dialog box

All versions of Windows:
On the keyboard, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + R

Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10:
Right-click on the Windows logo Windows logo key on the Start Menu or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X and then select Run

In the Run dialog box that appears, cut and paste or type either:

  • %temp%
    (user temp folder)
  • %systemroot%\temp
    (system temp folder)
and then select OK. If you get a prompt telling you that you do not currently have permission to access the folder, click on the Continue button. File Explorer will open and display the contents of that folder.

Now highlight one of the files and then press the CTRL + A keys at the same time to select all of the files/folders. Right-click on them and select Delete. If you get a prompt about permanently deleting the files, left-click on Yes. If you get a prompt telling that a file is still in use, make sure the Do this for all current items checkbox is selected and then left-click on Skip.

Turn off hibernation

Turn of hibernation

If you still need to free up some space, you can disable hibernation and delete the hilberfil.sys file. That should give you a few more gigabytes of free space. You will need an administrative command prompt to run these.

How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 7
How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 8
How to open a Command Prompt with Administrator privileges in Windows 10

Once you have an administrative command prompt open, just cut and paste or type the following into it:

  • powercfg.exe /hibernate off
    (turn off hibernation)
  • powercfg.exe /hibernate on
    (turn on hibernation)

Graphic Visualization Tools

Now when it comes to finding large files or folders, nothing can beat an excellent visual treemap. Instead of the usual file/folder data like you see in File Explorer, a graphic visualization tool shows file/folder information using blocks. The larger the square, the bigger the file/folder.

SpaceMonger version 1.4.0

Years ago, I started using a graphic visualization tool when I had a client that all of the desktops began running out of disk space. Using a visualization tool, I found the network deployed anti-virus clients were downloading new virus definitions, but they were not deleting previous versions.

Now there are a couple of different graphic visualization tools out there. I first started using SpaceMonger but have since moved over to SpaceSniffer. It does not require any installation (unzip and go) and is entirely free (but donations are recommended).

SpaceSniffer Version 1.2.0.2

Now right out-of-the-box SpaceSniffer can be a bit overwhelming with all of the information it provides. But with a couple of changes to the configuration, SpaceSniffer can open up just the way you like.

Now be careful not to go crazy and start deleting folders/files in the Windows folder. I know that it is one of the largest folders on the C: drive, but resist the urge to delete anything inside of the Windows folder. I would focus on the size of the user(s) folders/files. For more information on SpaceSniffer and how to use it, follow the link below.

SpaceSniffer, find lost disk space the easy way

Track free space on your computer with SpaceMonger

One of the software tools I use quite often client systems is SpaceMonger. SpaceMonger is a tool for keeping track of the free space on your computer. It shows graphically the size of each folder and file on your computer.

SpaceMonger

Each file or folder on a given drive is displayed in a box in the main window whose size is a relative comparison to all the other files in your system. So, for example, if the "Windows" box takes up 90% of the screen, the "C:\Windows" folder and all its sub-folders and files are taking up 90% of your "C:" drive.

SpaceMonger runs on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 RC1.

Click here to download the latest version


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