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WinDirStat – what is using up your disk?

by James 7 July 2012 No Comment

Introduction to WinDirStat

If you have ever run short of disk space, you will know how it can be quite hard to work out what files (and which folders) are taking up much of the space. WinDirStat is a tool that helps you with this task. It scans your disk(s) and gives you an analysis, both with numbers and a picture, of where you might be able to reclaim space. As the name suggests, this tool is built for Windows system, and is based on KDirStat (for Linux).

What makes WinDirStat different?

WinDirStat is for people who want a much broader and detailed approach in identifying the disk status of their PC. What makes it different is that it can scan an entire disk and give you a convienient way of identifying where the space is going. It can portray this as a “map” of coloured tiles – where each colour represents a different type of file. This is a very effective way of working out what sort of files are taking up your drive space.

Key Features

  • Calculates the space used by files and folders and rolls up these numbers
  • Directories and files using the most space are sorted to the top
  • Lets you navigate subfolders with ease because of WinDirStat’s graphical presentation
  • Gives you control on opening and running any file directly from the WinDirStat page
  • Prevents you from redundant deleting of file (like for example deleting a file then going to recycle bin to delete it again). It permanently deletes any file you wish to


This is the main window you will see with this product while it is scanning your disk. The small pacman symbols indicate that the scan is in progress.

This is the ‘treemap’ view that uses tiles of colour to indicate the proportion of the disk that is taken up by files of different types.

Performance and Reliability

This tool has been around for a while, and is rock solid reliable. It does not crash. It does not cause damage to your files. It is efficient and provides accurate details while doing its job. Results are dependable even if you check it in the old fashioned way with file explorer.


The interface is easy to use and makes sense, however it is a little dated in terms of style. It will remind you of how applications looked 10 years ago. This however is a purely style issue – it does not detract from the ability to work with the software.


  • Very effective colour table mechanism for showing what types of files are taking up space
  • The automatic sorting makes it very obvious very quickly what is taking up the most space
  • Provides you an option to where you would want to save space
  • Let’s you delete files from the interface
  • Gives you freedom in opening uncertain files from the same Window


  • The interface while effective, is a little out of date
  • Can be slow when running on large disk space


WinDirStat is a great product to help you work out where your disk space is going, and to point you in the right direction to start claiming it back. It has been around for quite a while, and although it’s interface is not the most modern, it is a reliable and dependable tool that will always do the job.




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