Software that shows hard drive usage

A lot of operating systems (OS) allow you to see if your hard drive is one that uses a partition or one that uses file systems. The Linux and Unix family of operating systems also have the ability to show you bare disk usage to give you information about space but not partitions. I like software that can show me my partitions as well as my hard disc space usage, but I’ve never found anything on the web that could do this nicely.

Hard drives fill up. That is an inevitable truth that we all must face. And while you may think you have enough room on your disk drive, you never know what could happen in the future. Are you keeping track of how much space each file is taking? I stopped doing that after a few weeks because it was too tedious. But I found a program called Disk Sensei which does this for me and monitors my hard drives for any issues that might occur.

When you need to know how much hard drive space you’re using, there’s no better tool than [software name]. It tracks all of your files and displays them in an easy-to-read format, so you can see exactly what’s taking up space on your computer.

The program also has a few useful features that make it even more helpful than other similar programs. For example, it can show you exactly where a file is located on your hard drive—even if it’s buried deep within an obscure folder.

Windows Explorer is a built-in tool in Windows that allows you to see your hard drive usage.

To use it, open the folder where you want to check your hard drive usage and then click Tools > Folder Options > View tab. From here, uncheck the option labeled “Hide empty drives in the Computer folder.” This will remove any empty drives from displaying. Now you can see which drives are being used and which ones aren’t.

Best Free Disk Space Analyzer for Windows

Disk Savvy

Disk Savvy analysis in progress

What We Like

  • Easier to use than most disk space analyzers.
  • Categorizes files in several ways.
  • Regular updates to newer versions.
  • Scan multiple locations simultaneously.
  • Export results to a report file.
  • Works within File Explorer.

What We Don’t Like

  • Some features require the paid Pro edition.
  • Only 500,000 files per scan.

Our Review of Disk Savvy

We list Disk Savvy as the No. 1 disk space analyzer program because it’s user-friendly and full of useful features that will help you free up disk space.

You can analyze internal and external hard drives, search through the results, delete files from within the program, and group files by extension to see which file types use the most storage. You can also examine a list of the top 100 biggest files or folders and export the list to your computer to review later.

There’s a professional version available, too, but the freeware edition seems perfect. Install it on Windows 11 through Windows XP, as well as on Windows Server 2022–2003.

Download Disk Savvy

02

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Windows Directory Statistics (WinDirStat)

WinDirStat in Windows 8

What We Like

  • Scan a whole drive or a single folder.
  • Provides unique ways to visualize disk space.
  • Can configure commands to delete data.

What We Don’t Like

  • Unable to save scan results to a file you can open later.
  • A bit slower at scanning than similar tools.
  • Runs only on Windows.

Our Review of WinDirStat

WinDirStat ranks up there with Disk Savvy in terms of features; we’re just not too fond of its graphics.

Create your own custom cleanup commands to do things quickly, like moving files off the hard drive or deleting files of a certain extension in a selected folder. You can also scan different hard drives and folders at the same time, as well as see which file types use the most space.

You can install WinDirStat only in the Windows operating system. Windows 95, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows NT4, etc., up through Windows 11 should work.

Download WinDirStat

03

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JDiskReport

JDiskReport v1.4.1 in Windows 8

What We Like

  • Shows disk space usage in five perspectives.
  • Interface is ideal for new users.
  • Works on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t let you delete files from within the results.
  • Noticeably slower than other disk space analyzers.

Another free disk space analyzer, JDiskReport, displays file storage in list view or via a pie chart or bar graph. A visual of disk usage helps you understand how the files and folders behave in relation to the available space.

In the left pane, you’ll find the folders that were scanned, while the right pane displays ways to analyze that data. You can’t delete files from within the program, and the time it takes to scan a hard drive seems slower than some other applications in this list.

Windows, Linux, and Mac users can use JDiskReport.

Download JDiskReport

04

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TreeSize Free

TreeSize Free v4.0.0 in Windows 8

What We Like

  • Lets you remove files from within the program.
  • Scan individual folders and entire hard drives.
  • Supports internal and external hard disk drives.
  • Portable option available.

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t work on Linux or macOS.
  • Filtering options aren’t super helpful.
  • No unique perspectives are available as with similar tools.

Our Review of TreeSize Free

The programs mentioned above are useful in different ways because they provide a unique perspective for you to look at the data. TreeSize Free isn’t so helpful in that sense, but it lets you see which folders are largest and which files among them are using up most of the space.

If you find folders or files that you no longer want, delete them from within the program to free up that space.

Get a portable version that runs on external hard drives and flash drives without installing it to the computer. Only Windows can run TreeSize Free.

Download TreeSize Free

05

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RidNacs

RidNacs v2.0.3 in Windows 10

What We Like

  • Minimal and simple interface.
  • Portable option available.
  • Scans large files in a specific folder or the whole drive.

What We Don’t Like

  • Won’t run on Linux or macOS.
  • Missing advanced features found in similar applications.

RidNacs is for the Windows OS, and while it’s similar to TreeSize Free, it doesn’t have all the buttons that may drive you away from using it. Its clear and simple design makes it more appealing to use.

Scan a single folder with RidNacs or scan whole hard drives. This is an important feature in a disk analyzer program because scanning an entire hard drive may take a long time when you really just need to see the info for one folder.

Open the folders as you would in File Explorer to see the folders or files listed in descending order. RidNacs includes the basic features necessary for what a disk analyzer should have, but it lacks the features you’d find in a more advanced program such as WinDirStat.

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