Disappearing disk space is a very common scenario.
Somehow, no matter how much we have, disk space never seems enough. As we collect pictures and programs (and the programs themselves collect data), more and more disk space is consumed. With so much happening on our computers these days, it’s difficult to easily understand what’s taking up space.
Fortunately, I can recommend a free tool that can give us some very helpful data.
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TreeSize Free is a free tool that shows you what’s taking up all of the space on your machine. (A paid version is available with additional features, but for what we’re doing, the free version will suffice.)
On completion of the installation, you’re given the option to run it or run it as Administrator:
I recommend you run it as Administrator, so TreeSize can access and return as much information as possible about your hard disk usage.
As TreeSize scans your hard drive, it updates its display in real time.
Once the small blue progress bar disappears, the results are complete.
A typical machine
This is the result of running TreeSize on a basic Windows 10 installation:
The primary information here is a list of all of the top-level folders on the C: drive and the amount of disk space consumed by their contents. It’s sorted by decreasing disk space, so the biggest consumers of space are at the top.
Not surprisingly, underneath the top-level “C:\” entry, it’s the “Windows” folder and everything it contains that’s consuming the most space.
You can see the contents of the next level of folders by clicking the small greater-than sign to the left of the folder name. Here’s the Windows folder expanded:
You can see right away that the “WinSxS” folder contains the most data of all the subfolders within C:\Windows. (This is normal, by the way.) You can also see the relative size of each of the other folders within Windows. If you wanted to drill down deeper, you could keep expanding subfolders.
TreeSize on user files
It’s often useful to see what’s stored in your user account’s folders. In Windows, that means looking at the contents of “C:\Users\<login name>.” In my case, that’s C:\Users\lnote:
You can see that AppData and its contents take up the most space in my account, with the Evernote folder being next.
Now, as to what’s eating up the disk space on your machine, there’s no way for me to know. However, using a tool like TreeSize, you should be able to quickly see what’s taking up all that space and take appropriate action.
Updated to Windows 10 and most current TreeSize.