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Freeware tool lets admins analyze all drives in a system

A freeware tool called WinDirStat visually maps content and directories of all drives in a system to help admins see what types of files are taking up space.

Back in November I wrote about  SequoiaView, a freeware program that visually maps the contents of your drives and directories and lets you see at a glance what's taking up so much room. I like the program, but it hasn't been developed in quite some time, and it's starting to show its age. After some research, I've found a program that serves as a nice successor to SequoiaView, one still in active development: WinDirStat.

WinDirStat gives admins the option of analyzing not just one but all available drives in a given system, then presents them with side-by-side maps of the drives' usage. As in SequoiaView, the maps are color-coded to give you an easy way to determine which types of files are taking up most of the space on your system.

However, WinDirStat can also generates several reports. You can open a tree view of each drive or folder, and each element in the tree has a percentile gauge that tells you how much space that particular element takes up in the whole. A rundown of how many files of each type is presented in a separate window.

WinDirStat also has several features that SequoiaView did not have in any form. The program can be instructed to show multiple file systems and follow NTFS junction points. The user can also configure "cleanupsm," manually executable actions that could be used to flush out temp directories or perform other disk maintenance on demand. Disk reports can also be exported to an e-mail and sent to a user—which is helpful if you're doing administration for someone else's machines.

Finally, if you're migrating to this program from SequoiaView, you'll be pleased to know that there's an option to generate the graphic maps in SequoiaView style, where items are grouped a little differently (and maybe a bit more intuitively).


Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!

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