Finding and deleting obsolete files on a hard drive is a time-honored method of getting back storage space.
There is a plethora of utilities designed to help with that task, but they can take very different approaches; here are five examples.
In the April 9 Best Utilities column, I wrote about WinDirStat, a utility that takes an unusual approach to drive analysis and cleaning. An open-source program, it has a graphical “Treemap” view that represents similar types of data on a drive as colored boxes. You can click on individual boxes to drill down into more detailed information.
But this app is designed primarily for IT professionals. It has, for example, the ability to analyze multiple systems, run from custom command-line scripts, and automatically email reports.
As a follow-up to that story, here are alternatives that are a better fit for most PC users. But even these utilities have different strengths and goals. The first two are best for analyzing the size, type, and age of files on a drive. The other three are designed for the task of finding and removing duplicate files.
JDiskReport: Quick, simple, minimally capable
JDiskReport (site) is a quick and easy install, but you must first have full Java installed (free; site). Although JDiskReport is free, I didn’t run into any tagalong software offers during the setup process. The utility first opens as a simple screen with two options: “Scan file tree” and “Open scan.” The latter lets you open a saved session and later will also show previous scans; when clicked, it starts the scan process immediately.
Clicking Scan file tree pops up a directory list. I started by selecting my C: drive and clicking OK; the scan completed in a few minutes. When that was done, JDiskReport brought up the summary window with a pie chart, as shown in Figure 1.