Help! My PC is slow!

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You are the computer go-to person when friends/family/casual-acquaintances say something like “My PC runs slow – can you take a look at it?”

After the usual dark thoughts about “Why me?”, you dutifully proceed to the PC in question, boot it up, click on the C drive’s properties and find out of 120 gazillion GBs of space, there’s 200 MB of free space left (one look at the desktop is the first clue – folders, docs and pics all over the place). Biting you tongue, you say something like “Lots of stuff here – can we save some to a disk?” only to be greeted with a blank stare – “What’s that”.

Sigh….

Now you could spend an inordinate amount of time looking for where the space hogs are buried, or you could use a disk reporting utility to ferret out what lies buried where. I came across two freeware utilities that can make life a LOT easier to free up disk space.

 

JDiskReport

“JDiskReport provides different perspectives about your disk drives: absolute and relative sizes, size distribution, distribution of modification dates, and distribution of types. Each perspective includes a pie chart, a bar chart, and a details table. You can choose to either show the file size or the number of files. Also, JDiskReport collects a list of 100 largest, oldest, and newest files”

JDiskReport is a small 566 Kb download that displays what’s where as pie charts. This is my wife’s PC in all its glory:

 

 

First thing that caught my eye was swsetup – this is a directory that programs use when setting up software – hence the name. In many instances you can delete parts of this folder, although it may contain some files used to restore an OS, so some care is needed. ITUNES is a big chunk:

 

 

Clicking on the ITUNES segment, I found this:

 

 

To my eye this can all go.

 

Another slice you can take is to view the Top 50 largest files:

 

 

You can also do a Size Distribution – LOTS of small files here:

 

 

Also views by File Types:

 

 

Whoa! Lots of stuff in Recycler:

 

 

A couple of ISOs account for the bulk of it (Ubuntu and Windows 7):

 

 

Overall JDiskReport is a very handy piece of freeware to cruise around your hard drive to see what’s taking up all that space.

 

SequoiaView

“Standard treemaps often lead to thin rectangles. We have developed a new method to display files : Squarified treemaps. The screen is subdivided such that rectangles approach squares as closely as possible. SequoiaView uses a visualization technique called cushion treemaps to provide you with a single picture of the entire contents of your hard drive. You can use it to locate those large files that you haven’t accessed in one year, or to quickly locate the largest picture files on your drive.”

 

Another disk reporter that gives a very different view using rectangles instead of pie slices – very funky! Here’s a view of the same C drive:

 

 

You can click on areas and burrow down to more detail. In addition there are a number of options you can set to customize views to your liking:

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusions

Both of these programs make life easier when looking to clean up your (or a friend’s) hard drive. SequoiaView for these eyes is tad more difficult to follow but that’s individual preference – I grew up on pie charts, so JDiskReport is more to my liking. It’s nice to know what’s lurking in your hard drive’s shadows taking up room. Love that freeware!

 

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