Monday, January 11, 2010


Just a quick post recommending SpaceSniffer as an excellent (and free!) tool for helping resolve disk space issues.  It takes a volume (or folder, or network share) and does a quick scan on what is using the space, converting the information into an image, with the biggest files or folders represented by proportionally big blocks.  Quite often an inexplicably full drive just turns out to have a huge temp file somewhere you can blow away (or in a recent successful use of it, some user has uploaded 2gb of his wedding photos to the departmental shared drive.) and these tend to stick out like a sore thumb.

Its not the only disk space visualizer out there - there are several paid for ones and I've been using the also free WinDirStat for a while, which does much the same thing.  SpaceSniffer does have a couple of distinct advantages though.

  • Its quick - and while its working the scan builds up dynamically so you can start checking things out straight away.  Other programs make you wait until the whole scan is done, which can be an age.
  • You don't need to install it.  That's a big plus when you're looking after tens, even hundreds of servers that should not have third party software installed unless needed.  No need for paperwork (or spending time installing it just to use it once), just run it from a network share.
  • You can scan network shares - even better when you are not happy about running things on a critical server, though its much faster to run it locally.
  • It looks good! Okay, its not a key feature, but for once it does not seem to have had its interface designed by an engineer who doesn't get out much.  Its got an intuitive interface, right click on folders to open them in Explorer, double click them to drill down into the contents.  Genius.
  • Did I mention its free?  We like free.


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