SpaceSniffer: explore a “treemap” representation of your file and folder sizes

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SpaceSniffer is a free program that displays the size of your files and folders in a visual “Treemap” representation.

It allows you to browse your folder structure, drill in and out of represented elements, and filter the display by any combination of criteria (filenames, extensions, size, date). It also allows you to access your Windows context menu for on-the-spot file/folder manipulation.

How do you free up space on your hard drive? Assuming that you’ve cleaned your drives from all accumulated junk files (using a program such as CCleaner for example), the next step is to figure out which files/folders are taking up the space in the first place, and after that to make decisions as to whether or not you can afford to get rid of some of the offenders.

How do you do this? I’ve written about a number of programs that represent file and folder sizes, one of my favorites being Free Disk Usage Analyzer. The difference between this aforementioned program and SpaceSniffer is that the former is focused on presenting lists of the largest-size files and folders and comparing using bars and charts (which is extremely useful); SpaceSniffer, on the other hand, uses a different approach entirely that is much more holistic and conducive to discovering files and folders on your drives that you didn’t realize occupied the space that they actually do.

Here are more notes on this program:

  • The interface: is quite pleasant to work with; simple, yet effective. The two blue buttons on the toolbar control whether you would like more or less detail overall, while the green “star” toggles the display of the available free space.
  • Filters: you can use multiple filters separated by commas. For example “*.zip, *.mp3” will only display zip and mp3 files only, while, say “*black*” will only display elements with the word “black” in the file/folder names. Also size and date extension“<2years”. The following combination “*.jpg;>1mb;<3months” will show JPEG’s that are larger than 1 meg dated within the last 3 months.
  • Navigation: click on the boxes to drill down into more detail, or use the arrow buttons in the toolbar, browser style. Note that a brown square means that the entity is a folder and you can click on it to drill down further; a blue square means that you cannot drill down (that its a file not a folder).Clicking on the box “title” will maximize it into the screen, hiding all the others.
  • Context menu: right click on a file or folder (represented by a square), and you can access the regular Windows context menu for that file; a very cool feature, as this means that you can manipulate your files/folders on the spot (delete them or open them to evaluate whether or not you want them still, etc.)
  • Interactive: if its running it will respond to changes on your system and reflect them in its representation.
  • Portable: unzip and run.

The verdict: a very well made program that is simple, intuitive, elegant, and very useful. An excellent tool for exploring the contents of your hard drive that should be in your arsenal even if you (like me) like the rank-by-size function that other file-size exploration programs provide. To quote the program’s site “just… give it a try”… you will like it.

Version Tested: 1.0.3.18

Compatibility: Windows All.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 870K).