How Can I See Whats Taking Up Space On My Hard Drive?

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This is the type of thing that every computer user should learn at some point for the simple reason that space runs out in a Hard Drive.  Even though hard drives are getting bigger the programs that use this space are also getting bigger.  Knowing how to find what is taking up space allows you to manage that precious space a little better.  This also keeps you from spending money when you don’t really need to.  Just as a note of caution if you are searching your hard drive to delete something.  DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS!  Thinking that because you don’t know what it is means its useless is the wrong way to go about selecting what to remove.

Specs: 

  • O/S : Windows PCs
Method 1:  For the brave (Manual)

If your just a hard-core computer user or just strange and looking for a challenge you can user the Windows Explorer and manually browse each folder to find the size of the files.  Start by Right-Clicking  the start button.  On Windows XP and Vista machines look for the option in the menu that says Explore  and Left-Click.  On Win 7 machines Left-Click Open Windows Explorer.  Although on the Windows 7 machines you can click the convenient Folder icon in the Task Bar.  In the next window that pops up Right-Click in the right side of the window.  From this menu select View then select Details.  This will give a view of the files with a column displaying the Size.  This is how much space that particular file is taking up on the hard drive.  You may have to resize the bar to see all the columns.  And if you do not see the size column Right-Click on Name in  that title bar and select Size.  Bless you; you brave soul if you use this method.

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Method 2:  For the sane

For a task such as this I use a nice piece of software called TreeSize.   TreeSize scans the selected hard drive and presents you with a folder tree with the size of the contents of that folder.   To get started download TreeSize and install it.  Run TreeSize.  From the Menu Bar Left-Click Scan.  The Scan menu will list the hard drives in your computer.  Left-Click the hard drive you would like to scan and the program handles the rest.  The Folder with the largest size will filter to the top.  Viewing like this helps you find those extremely large files quickly.  Left-Click the “+” sign (Windows XP) of the little triangle (Windows 7) next to a folder to go into it one level.  You can keep going down until you find what you’re looking for.

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