Tools To View And Analyze Disk Usage

As a followup to my post on TreeSize here are some other downloads I have come across that let the user view or visualize space usage on a disk.

For this article I chose to analyze a folder that is approximately 945MB and has 28 subfolders and 170 files. Using a not so new Windows XP machine.

Free Disk Analyzer is described by its author as

The easiest tool for quickly finding large files and optimizing disk usage.


Free Disk Analyzer comes in at 11.1MB, much larger than the others looked at in this article, and while having the most elegant or perhaps uncomplicated interface that is pretty similar to Windows Explorer it still difficult to understand the need for the program size. Free Disk Analyzer includes links to the system control panel and even a breadcrumbs style menu. It was slowest to analyze the chosen folder and provide the info seen in the image, it even went into a Windows ‘Not Responding’ state for a few seconds. But the results clearly and by default include analysis of the files and not just folders or subfolders being scanned. As mentioned, for a download its size it has surprisingly few options. One can filter result by the usual types like images or system files. It is possible to analyze the largest files or set a minimum file size for analysis and also to cache or save the results. After one analysis it took up about 25MB of memory. Supported Windows versions are not listed on the developer’s website.

OverDisk is described by its author as

OverDisk is a disk usage browser. It can be used to quickly find out how a partition’s space is distributed among the file system hierarchy.


OverDisk, at a 502KB download, is much smaller. It generates an immediate graph of the space taken that can be configured for ‘Logical’, ‘Physical’ and ‘Wasted’ space taken by the operating system – as in taking into account the cluster size. One interesting tool is the Statistics under the Info menu which allows the user to check for such things as ‘Deepest’ and ‘Largest’ path names (see image). OverDisk took less than 5MB of memory during and after analysis was complete. Supported Windows versions are not listed on the developer’s website.

WinDirStat is described by its author as

WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows


WinDirStat, a 630KB download, at startup and by default will give an overview of the disk drives and if one doesn’t see the option and doesn’t choose the ‘A Folder’ radio button and just click OK it proceeds to fully analyze the whole drive without any further prompts. Subsequent to that but choosing a folder the stats are displayed pretty instantaneously. The rather strange and unusual map which is also color coded according to file types (see image) makes for a more detailed representation of the space the files take. It is possible to zoom on the map to get a close up if many subfolders or files are being looked at. Various disk cleanup options are included and one can configure more via the Options menu. Memory usage topped off at around 10MB. Runs on all versions of Windows including Windows 95 with Internet Explorer 5 loaded.

Folder Size is described by its author as

Folder Size helps you figure out where all that hard drive space has gone on your computer.


Folder Size is a more basic analyzer with a basic option of visualizing the amount of space each folder or subfolder is taking. It is possible to filter the results but little else is included. At 333KB (unzipped) and not requiring installation it is good for quick reference. Supported Windows versions are not listed on the developer website.

Xinorbis is described by its author as

Xinorbis is a simple but powerful hard disk analyzer. Using a sophisticated mix of graphs, tables and tree displays, it gives the user a complete overview of the contents of a hard disk (or directory)


Xinorbis, another available as a portable no-installation version is 4.64MB unzipped. Xinorbis provides a different and perhaps confusing GUI that packs its features in tabs. The tabs allows such things as keeping a folder history and also many different views of the results be they text, pie chart or table format. It also provides a ‘Top 101’ files table that lists the largest and smallest files in the disk or folder being analyzed. One additional filter that might be of interest is the ‘Null’ tab which lists any null files or empty folders. Xinorbis features four ways to export the results in HTML, XML, CSV and text. It used 15MB of memory. Of note is the shell support that makes it possible to scan a directory from the command line. It runs on Windows 2000, XP and Vista

For the simplest of all one can not forget Folder Size, an open source project that adds folder sizes right in the Windows Explorer details view, much in the same way as file sizes are displayed. It works on Windows 2000 and XP, and provides a features sorely missing in those and other Windows versions.