If you’ve ever found yourself out of or low on disk space, you’ve probably wasted time hovering over folders or checking the properties of each folder, waiting for it to tally the total size. Sometimes it’s not so obvious what happened to your disk space, but there’s a free tool called Tree Size Free makes it quite simple.
This was another work find where we run the Tree Size Professional version, but for simply finding disk space hogs on your local computer, the free version is ideal. There are a number of other features the professional version includes over the free one, but the one thing we use it for is for running disk space reports remotely. I can open Tree Size on one server and type in a path (\remoteserverC$) to run a disk space report for another server which is extremely handy for a system admin.
Tree Size Free will scan whatever local directory you select and provide the results of the folder sizes in the root of the directory by default. You can change this view from one to six levels deep into folders, or you can choose to expand every folder providing a view of every folder in the directory with how much disk space its using. This seems a bit overkill to me as the default view is usually sufficient, but still a nice option. You also have the ability to manually drill down into (expand) individual folders yourself to find the space thief. Below is the result of a typical system scan.
As you can see, a lot of my space is taken up by the Documents and Settings folder where my user profile is located. I have a bad habit of saving things on my desktop and if you expanded further into this folder and into my profile folder, you’d see my Desktop folder bogarting most of that 20 gigabytes of space Tree Size Free is reporting.
If you need a bit more information on your files, the professional version does have the pretty pie graph option which is a nice touch for reports. You can also get information on folder and file owners, last access and last change dates, percentage of space it’s using of the parent folder, and file extensions to name a few.
There was one incident a Tree Size Professional feature did come in handy for us outside of our normal everyday use, and that was the last access and change fields under the Details tab. Our NAS was growing out of control (quotas were never implemented from the beginning) and people were complaining about needing more space. We ran Tree Size on the entire NAS and realized that nearly 80% of the files were not touched in over 2 years.
Users were archiving data to the NAS that they shouldn’t have been, so not only was the NAS growing quickly, but this data had been backed up hundreds of times over and sent offsite on tape, so much of it was unnecessary. This report came in handy with higher management to show that it was a fix that was more about user education instead of having to spend a few hundred thousand dollars on more disk for the NAS.
While these pro features can definitely come in handy in larger environments, you just can’t beat the price of Tree Size Free for scanning your own system to help find those pesky disk space abberations.