No matter what the size of your drive, youre bound to run out of space when storing digital photos, MP3s, and especially digital video, not to mention bloated Word documents full of inserted images, overloaded PowerPoint presentations, and the loads upon loads of e-mail attachments youre bombarded with daily. Have you seen the size of your Outlook mail folders lately? Windows Explorer offers no easy way to find obese folders and files on your system, so when the drive is approaching its maximum, youre stuck!
DiskPie Pro, the latest premium utility from PC Magazine, to the rescue! With its customizable pie charts, you can visually find your overweight folders, files, and even see what filetypes are eating up your precious drive space. Once youve found your biggest offenders, DiskPie Pro will help you clean your drive—and itll even be a watchdog, quietly monitoring the disk (or networked drive) in the background so you can keep it clean, orderly, and more important, fast and efficient. This new version is a complete rewrite of our original DiskPie utility.
Here are a few of the highlights. With DiskPie Pro, you can:
- Quickly identify space-hogging files and folders, so you can keep your drive clean and fast.
- Get an instant breakdown by filetype of the files that are hogging your hard disk.
- Find and manage the largest files on your drive. Plus, if you have FileSnoop installed on your PC, you can even get more information about these big offenders.
- Automatically monitor folders in the background—DiskPie can alert you whenever a particular folder exceeds a threshold youve set. DiskPie can also monitor the files on your drive. For instance, DiskPie can alert you whenever you have more than 100MB of MP3 files on your drive.
- DiskPie is connection agnostic, so itll run on local and networked drives.
- Each pie is completely customizable so you can change the background and even add in your favorite photo as a background. Plus, you can spin each pie to get a better view of stored filetypes and their relative sizes by clicking on the top of the pie and moving your mouse.
- Easily available from right-click menus in Windows.
Read on for tutorials, and tips and tricks, on using DiskPie Pro to evaluate and manage your hard drive.
Note: If youre unable to download the utility, please read our download FAQ. It should help you resolve the most common problems.
If youre still having problems, click here for a download sequence that doesnt use a pop-up window.
& Getting Started”>
Installing & Getting Started
Once youve downloaded DiskPie Pro from the PC Magazine Utility Library to a folder on your Microsoft Windows 98, Me, 2000, or XP machine, simply unzip diskpie.zip, double-click on setup.exe, and follow the simple on-screen instructions.
Overview of the Interface
When DiskPie Pro starts up, itll display an Explorer-style view of your file system. You can then select a folder or a local or networked drive, and DiskPie Pro will begin to analyze it. Click on any of the “pie” tabs to see a visual breakdown of your selected location:
- Folder pie will show the largest files and folders in the current folder. It will scan all subfolders and add the sizes of all files inside them, attributing the total size to the folder size.
- Filetype pie will show a breakdown of the used space by filetype, so that you can see which filetypes are hogging your hard disk.
- Largest files pie will show the largest files in the selected folder.
You can launch DiskPie Pro by right-clicking on a folder in Windows and selecting DiskPie. You can also launch the utility by the standard means of double-clicking on the shortcut on your Desktop or selecting it in your Start Menu.
Finding and Deleting Fat
Folders and Files”>
Finding and Deleting Fat Folders and Files
The best place to kick off your analysis is with your C drive (or any main local drive). So, when DiskPie first launches, just select the C drive in the Explorer view tab.
Then, click on the Folder pie tab and DiskPie will immediately start examining your hard drive and drawing its pie chart. During the calculation phase, the utility will keep a count, displayed at the bottom of the tab next to Total Space, of how much disk space it has examined. A second hand (like that of a clock) on the pie will tick for every second it takes to calculate the disk usage.
Once the calculation is complete, DiskPie will display a graphical layout of the amount of disk space used for each folder or file. The amount of space used by an individual folder, in this pie chart, includes any space used in directories that are located within it. For instance, the space used by the Program Files directory includes all of the subdirectories for each individual program installed to this directory. In our example, shown in the pop-up images, were looking at whats called a root directory (its another name for the C drive), DiskPie will also let you know how much free space remains on the disk.
If you want to spin the pie so that you can get a better look at some of the smaller slices, just click and hold on the top of the pie and move the mouse (notice that the mouse cursor turns into a hand).
To drill down from the root of your C drive, just double-click on any slice in the pie. Then DiskPie will focus on that folder and display its pie chart. For instance, click on the Program Files slice to see a breakdown of the disk usage used by this subdirectory. (If you hit backspace, or click on the Back button in the toolbar, you move up one level.)
You can keep drilling down in this manner, until you reach a folder that has no subfolders. In this example, we drilled down through the Adobe subdirectory, all the way down to the Photoshop folder. By hovering the mouse over the Samples folder, which in this example was installed with Photoshop, you can find out how much space is used by that particular folder and its files. As you can see here, Samples takes up 20MB—thats a lot of space, especially since we never use these samples!
As this folder is of no use to us, we can delete it in order to clean up our hard drive and recover 20MB of space. You can delete the folder by right-clicking on the pie slice and selecting “Delete current folder.”
Go on to the next page to find out how to find overabundant filetypes.
Finding Overabundant Filetypes
Finding Overabundant Filetypes
Worried about having too many MP3s or digital photos on your work PC, or has your home PCs hard drive mysteriously filled up with who knows what? DiskPie can give you a breakdown of what types of files take up the most space on your system. Simply select a folder, the C drive, for instance, in the Explorer view, and then click on the Filetype pie tab. DiskPie will then visually display your hard drive usage by filetype.
In this pie chart, each slice is a different filetype. The yellow slice, for example, represents the total space used up by ZIP files. This is exactly 879,238KB, or roughly 859.5MB. If you want to see which ZIP files take up the most space, just right-click on the ZIP slice and select Manage files.
After selecting this option, the manage files pop-up appears. In this window, you can copy, move, and delete files. You can even print out this list of files.
Note: the pie slice for “(no extension)” represents the files that have no extension at all. These files can be temporary Internet files, Windows files, or just about anything else. But they are quite normal to have on your PC and can, in some cases, be vital to the normal operation of some programs. They are not, in all cases, merely junk.
Cleaning Up Wasteful Files
Cleaning Up Wasteful Files
Individual files, if they are big enough, can waste a lot of space. To find out which files are the largest in a chosen folder, simply select the folder in the Explorer view and then click on the Largest files tab. As an example, we selected the Program Files directory and then viewed the pie chart showing the largest files.
The largest file under my Program Files directory is a ZIP file entitled tools.zip. Since we have FileSnoop installed on this machine, we are able to “snoop” deep information about this file without opening it. We simply launched FileSnoop from the context menu that appeared when we right-clicked the tools.zip slice of the Largest files pie.
Note: to replicate the scenario, youll need to have FileSnoop, another PC Magazine utility, installed on your machine and have the Add FileSnoop To: Main Context Menu setting turned on within the View/Options window.
FileSnoop will give a list of the files compressed within this ZIP file.
Active and Automatic Monitoring
Active and Automatic Monitoring
Perhaps the most innovative feature of DiskPie Pro is its ability to monitor a set of watched folders on your local or network drives. DiskPie can tell you if a folder exceeds a certain size and if the total group of files of a certain filetype reaches a given size.
For instance, you can set DiskPie to monitor your entire C drive by right-clicking on the C drive in the Explorer view and selecting Add to watched folders.
You will then be asked to set your size threshold for this folder. We set our threshold to 10GB (were just shy of that now). Once youve added a folder, a list of filetypes will appear in the Watched extensions tab. DiskPie will now monitor the folder and the files in it, by filetype. To remove a folder from the list of watched folders, simply right-click on it (in this tab) and select Remove.
To see a list of the folders DiskPie is watching, click on the Watched folders tab. We set DiskPie to watch our C drive, and we also set a special watch just for our My Documents folder with a threshold of 5GB. To change the threshold, simply right-click on the entry and choose Modify size threshold.
In the same manner as DiskPie watches folders, it can also keep an eye on your files by focusing in on their filetypes. You can set alerts, for instance, when you have reached 100MB of MP3 files, or when you have stored 1GB of digital photos anywhere on your PC. To add a filetype-watch to DiskPie, simply add the folder that you want to monitor (for instance, the C drive as a whole), and DiskPie will monitor the filetypes automatically. In this example, DiskPie will monitor the filetypes found anywhere on our C drive.
To set the threshold for MP3 files to 100MB, simply right-click on the extension name, in this case “.mp3” and select Modify threshold. Then set the threshold to 100MB, and youre all set!
DiskPie can monitor these folders and filetypes at any frequency you desire. When you first install DiskPie, it will refresh the size information on these folders when you view the Watched folders tab and whenever you click on the Refresh button. You can also set DiskPie to monitor these folders (in the background) automatically by clicking on Settings inside the View menu and modifying the Refresh folders option. In our ongoing example, we set DiskPie to check in on our watched folders once every hour.
Also in the Settings window, you can set your preference for how you would like DiskPie to alert you when a particular threshold for a folder or filetype has been exceeded. The options are: no alert, play a sound, or display a pop-up window. In this example, we have chosen to be alerted via a pop-up window.
The default thresholds can also be modified in the Settings window. You can set these thresholds to whatever number you desire, but note that its measured in KB. (1MB is equal to 1024KB, and 1GB is equal to 1,048,576KB.)
Personalize DiskPie with Photos
Personalize DiskPie with Photos and More
With DiskPie Pro, you can completely customize each of the pie charts. You can apply a unique look to each tabs pie chart by making your modifications and unchecking the Apply settings to all pies checkbox—or by default change them all at once.
Not a fan of 3D pie charts? Reduce the height of the pie chart to 0, and change the angle to 360 degrees so you can see the entire flat pie from the top view.
You can also change the background color of each pie chart tab, making it solid or a gradient, or setting a background image. In this example, we set the background to a photo of a sunset.
To set the preferences for how youd like DiskPie to operate, select Settings in the View menu. From here you can set DiskPie to start with Windows and appear in your Explorer right-click menus. You can also set your monitoring frequency and alert behavior.
About the Author and
About the Author and Project Team
Bruno Sonnino, the author of FileSnoop and FileSnoop 2, is a Delphi developer in Brazil and has written five Delphi books, published in Portuguese by Pearson Education Brazil.
Robyn Peterson is a senior producer at Ziff Davis Media, where he manages the PC Magazine Utility Library (among other tasks).
Special thanks to Chris Wagers for his help in QA testing this utility. Chris is a CompTIA A+ certified engineer and has been working with PCs and software for over a decade.