WinDirStat v1.1.2

A full review of WinDirStat, a free disk space analyzer

WinDirStat is probably the best free disk space analyzer tool you can find. It displays all the information you need to understand what's taking up valuable disk space on your internal hard drives, flash drives, and external hard drives.

This program doesn't just show you what's occupying all the space—it also lets you set up cleanup commands and manually delete data, all from within the program.

WinDirStat showing the C drive
What We Like
  • Installs quickly

  • Supports multiple perspectives of file sizes

  • You can choose which hard drive(s) to scan if you have multiple

  • Lets you scan just a single folder instead of a whole drive

  • Easy to delete files from within the program

What We Don't Like
  • Works only on Windows

  • Scans are sometimes slow

  • No portable option (you have to install it)

  • Can't save the scan results so as to open them again later

This review is of WinDirStat v1.1.2. Please let us know if there's a newer version we need to review.

Thoughts on WinDirStat

It can be frustrating to have a hard drive with little remaining disk space, but WinDirStat truly makes it a breeze to understand which folders and files are taking up all that storage. Not only does it show you this information, but it lets you act on it by removing the large (or small) files and folders to clear up space.

Since custom cleanup commands are supported, you can add up to ten different commands that you can run on folders or files. The idea is to add functions to the program that aren't natively supported, which is a great idea. For example, instead of moving numerous large files from one small hard drive to a different bigger drive, you could just build a simple command that automates it for you in one click.

One thing that would be nice to have in this program is a way to save the scan results. They usually take quite a while to complete, especially if you have lots of files to scan, so to be able to save the results and sift through them later would be nice. Right now, if you exit the program, you have to run a full scan again should you want to see the same results.

There are definitely other free disk analyzer tools out there, but you should try WinDirStat first so that you can get a feel for how useful it is for figuring out what's taking up so much disk space.

More About WinDirStat

After using WinDirStat for a while, these were some of my major takeaways:

  • It should run fine on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, and older versions of Windows, through Windows 95. The makers of this program recommend QDirStat (Linux) and Disk Inventory X (Mac), which look like this program but go by different names, so they aren't really the same.
  • You can scan one, multiple, or all internal hard drives, flash drives, and external hard drives at once, or just one single folder
  • One available view is given so that you can browse through folders and files as you would in File/Windows Explorer, except that WinDirStat sorts the folders not by name or date but by the total size
  • There's also a sortable file extension list that shows which file formats (like MP4, EXE, RAR, etc.) are taking up the most space. It includes a description of the file type, what percentage of the total available space that the format is using, and how many files of that type are on the drive/folder
  • The extension list also serves as a key to understanding the treemap, which is a visual representation of all the files on the drive and their respective proportional size to every other file (the files represented as larger blocks take up more disk space than the files shown as smaller blocks)
  • You can quickly copy the path to any file or folder
  • The Cleanup menu provides a way to open files and folders from within WinDirStat, as well as open the folder that a file is stored in, launch Command Prompt at a certain location, delete files/folders, and view the properties of an item
  • You can change the colors for the directory listing from within WinDirStat's settings, as well as display the total time it took for a scan to finish
  • The brightness, height, style, and other options for the colored, boxed treemap can be customized
  • Custom command-line commands can be set up to do anything supported by the Windows command-line, like delete all the TMP files in a folder you've selected, send all of a folder's file names to a text file, etc.
  • WinDirStat will display only the first 2 million subitems in a directory (which shouldn't be a problem for most people), as well as files and directory trees that aren't any larger than 8.3 TB
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