Despite the ever-increasing capacity and speed of Mac computers, there comes a time when everyone needs to find out what is eating away all their disk space. I always enjoy giving my Mac a thorough spring clean, removing all the rubbish which seems to accumulate at an alarming pace.
With spring in the air, there’s never a better time to ruthlessly delete those apps, documents and videos which have built up over the last year. In true AppStorm style, we have a tool which will save you a huge amount of time – Disk Inventory X. It’s completely free, and offers a quick way to generate a visual representation of what, exactly, is consuming all your hard drive space.
When opening Disk Inventory, you’ll be asked which hard drive to analyze. This could be an internal drive, one attached via USB, or even over the network (though this takes a little longer). A quick summary of all the drives available is displayed:
Performing a Scan
After clicking ‘Open Volume’, Disk Inventory X will start to analyze the size and location of every file on the drive. As you can imagine, this takes a short while. Use this time wisely; take a bath, celebrate summer with a watermelon ice lolly, or mow the lawn. When returning to your Mac after the exciting activity selected, you should be presented with something similar to the following:You’re looking at visual depiction of every file on your hard drive, color coded, and displayed according to the size it takes up. It should be immediately obvious which files are taking up the most room. The key on the right provides a quick snapshot of what each color corresponds to, and a more detailed description of any file can be brought up at a click.
As you can see on the right, a thorough amount of information is available for each particular file. It’s easy to see where it is located – often you may be wanting to move or delete several files to free up space.
One of the few downsides of the app is a lack of automatic updating when you delete a file – to see a new drive image, you’ll need to run the whole process again. This is understandable, but a way to simply re-draw the graphic would be very useful.
A few preferences exist for customizing just how Disk Inventory X behaves. These allow you to alter the layout and appearance, show free space in addition to that taken up, or offer further details about individual files:
Other Spring Cleaning Apps
A few other applications may be useful for performing a thorough spring clean of your Mac. Here are a handful worth checking out:
- AppZapper – For completely removing an app from your system
- Grand Perspective – A similar, visual disk representation tool
- Xslimmer – For reducing the size of universal binary apps
- Cocktail – For performing all manner of different system optimization tasks.
Disk Inventory X is a fantastic tool, it’s completely free, and allows you to generate a quick visual representation of your hard drive. I’m yet to come across a more effective method for discovering huge files I never knew existed.
The only problem surrounds the fact that development seems to have more or less halted for the app. The universal binary edition was never officially released (though is available here, and works great). It would be great to see another developer take up the baton, and move the app forwards.