What is using disk space in Windows? Find the biggest files

If you have little storage left on the drive in your Windows PC, here is a great tool to find what is using disk space. Scan the drive and show the biggest folders and files using space.

Although some people have large amounts of storage space on their Windows computer, many people have small drives, perhaps 500 GB or even less. Some PCs have as little as 256 GB and it is soon used up with software, videos, photos and audio.

SSDs, solid state drives, are many times faster than old style hard disk drives and they boost the performance of Windows and software enormously. However, there is a downside to them and they cost more per gigabyte of storage than HDDs.

For this reason, you may have a small SSD drive in your PC with limited storage, but even large HDDs are filled by some people.

Are you struggling for space on the PC’s drive? Do you know what is using the disk space in Windows or even how to find out. If you knew what was using all the space, you might be able to do something about it and free up space by moving files and folders to external storage or even online storage.

There are some great utilities that enable you to analyze the space usage on a drive and to show where the space is most used. Here is one, WizTree.

Show disk space usage with WizTree

WizTree is free for personal use and there are two versions. One can be installed in Windows and the other is a portable app. I prefer portable apps and you just download it, right click it and extract the files int he Downloads folder. When you want to run it, just open the folder and click WizTree (32-bit) or WizTree64 (64-bit version).

The app scans the PC’s internal disk extremely quickly and it produces a comprehensive display of disk usage that is organized into three sections.

What is using disk space? WizTree utility for Windows PC shows disk usage
What is using disk space? WizTree can tell you

In the top left corner is a list of folders ordered by size. You can see how many gigabytes or megabytes of space each top-level folder occupies on the drive and the percentage of the total space used.

WizTree Windows utility showing disk space usage
Disk space usage for Windows PC

Click the plus buttons next to folders and the subfolders they contain are displayed. This enables you to drill down and find which folder or subfolder is using the disk space.

Scroll sideways and more columns of information are shown, like the allocated space, which may be different to the folder size, the number folders and the number of files.

WizTree Windows utility showing disk space usage
Disk space usage using WizTree

On the right is a space usage list organized by file type. Media files are likely to dominate and you can see how much disk space is used by video files, photos, applications, audio and so on. So, on the left you can see where the space is being used and on the right, you can see what is using the space.

WizTree Windows utility showing disk usage by file type
Disk usage by file type in WizTree

There is also a File View tab and this lists all the files on the disk ordered by size. You can see which files use the most space. Right click on a file and an Explorer folder opens to show where it is on the disk, so you can move it to another drive or online storage, or delete it to free up space.

There is a good search filter and you could show all video files by searching for *.avi or *.mp4. for example.

WizTree Windows utility showing files on the disk ordered by size
Files on the disk sorted by size, filtered by file type

At the bottom of the window is a special type of space usage chart. Colored rectangles indicate files and the bigger the rectangle, the bigger the file. Move the mouse over a colored rectangle and the file path and name are displayed.

Click a rectangle and the files is highlighted in the folder/file listing in the upper left panel.

WizTree Windows utility showing a disk usage map
Disk usage map shown by WizTree

WizTree is an excellent utility for viewing disk space usage and finding the files and folders that are using the most space. You may be surprised at what is consuming most storage and knowing where the biggest offenders are, you can do something about them.

TreeSize Free: Alternative to WizTree

TreeSize Free is a great alternative to WizTree and as the name indicates, it is free. (There are also paid Personal and Professional editions with more features.)

Scan the PC’s drive with TreeSize and it shows a display that lists all the top level folders on the disk ordered by size. Each folder can be expanded and this enables you to drill down until you find the biggest folders and the biggest files. It is easy to see what is taking up the most disk space.

TreeSize Windows utility showing disk space usage
TreeSize Free report showing disk space usage

There are plenty of options for customizing the display and sorting the information. There is also a Treemap Chart which shows folders as rectangles in 2D and 3D modes, with a useful popup information panel when the mouse hovers over an item.

Treesize Free is just as good as WizTree and it is an excellent utility. and as it is free, you may as well try it alongside WizTree and see which one you prefer.

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