Disk Inventory X: Spring Clean Your Mac

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:

Selecting a drive to analyze

Selecting a drive to analyze

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:

Disk Inventory X

Disk Inventory X

Viewing More Information

Viewing More Information

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.

Preferences

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:

Preferences

Preferences

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.

Conclusion

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.


  • Robin

    Great! I’d suggest you add DaisyDisk to the list: http://www.daisydiskapp.com

  • Evan

    My favorite such app is jDiskReport – http://www.jgoodies.com/freeware/jdiskreport/
    For me, I’m not a fan of the blocks in Disk Inventory X, where as I find the pie charts much easier to skim though. Other than that, they are pretty much the same. jDiskReport works across all the OS’s via Java.

  • Alex

    Yeah but what you fail to mention is that DaisyDisk costa 20 bucks

    Who the hell would pay 20 bucks for a data visualization tool?

    Sorry I mean, who are the suckers that bought this tool? haha

    • markokaup

      They are called “Rich people” … :)

  • http://eladgariany.blogspot.com Elad Gariany

    I personally use GrandPerspective and would recommend everyone using it (especial for HUGE(!!!) aiff junk files while recording live session with Logic)

  • http://dezinerfolio.com Navdeep

    I’ve been using a while and I like the visualization and the way you quickly can find crap on your mac…!

    @3drockz

  • http://www.moosedesign.com MooseDesign

    Ugh. Wish I had read this before I started with a new online backup routine!

  • RIch

    you mentioned cocktail as an alternative. I recently bought this and have absolutely no clue how to use it. I haven’t had the time to really dig through it, but it seems to lack detailed info and how-to’s. A review of that, and a thorough discussion on how to rock it, would be super rad!

  • http://www.808m.cc f

    I was trying to find some kind of WinDirStat emulation on Os X and I found it thanks to this post!

    Thanks!

  • craig

    Cocktail is not an alternative it is an aid in cleaning up system files, not a data visualization tool and your an idiot for buying something you did not research on, its not a candy bar you don’t impulse buy software moron…

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  • http://www.nburmandesign.com Calgary Graphic Design

    I’m not going to wait for Spring.. thanks for the tips!

  • Phil E. Drifter

    Craig: “Cocktail is not an alternative it is an aid in cleaning up system files, not a data visualization tool and *your an idiot* for buying something you did not research on, its not a candy bar you don’t impulse buy software *moron*…”

    And the monkey flings the poo.

    And also spelled “you’re” wrong.

  • Rhino Junior

    Two quick tips:
    You can delete a file right from Disk Inventory X by clicking on it (in the file list or in the graphical representation) and selecting File->Move to Trash (Cmd-Delete). One advantage of this is that DIX will automatically update the visual display, and it will do it quickly without rescanning the entire disk.
    If you do delete/move a file in Finder after running DIX, you can do the quick-update by selecting the folder the file was in and choosing File->Refresh Selection.

  • http://www.carmasnack.com Carmen Hilton

    I love this program, I clean out my disk once a month because of this.

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  • soap22

    This article is very useful. I have used my Mac for years and did not notice my hard disk is consuming by the useless files. This article helped me much. I also found another free cleanup software MacCleaning. It is free and effective.

  • http://goodexamplepapers.com/ free writing

    Useful piece of software. When your hard drive fills up, one way to find out which files are hogging the space is to use a specialist utility that displays your disk space usage visually. There are a number of excellent free contenders that differ mainly in the way the disk space usage is portrayed.

  • http://www.wikivarna.ru/index.php?title=User:KattieMoniz202 Appointment setting

    I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been seeking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thank you once more..

  • Nicola

    Hi,

    I’ve downloaded Disk Inventory as my disk space is really low. When looking at my Hard Drive, Snapshot has loads of files (in red) and they all have weird file names like fc043faa but much longer. When I open the file it opens in Text Edit. Does anyone have any idea what this is?! Can I delete these or will this delete valuable information/files?

    Many thanks,

    Nicola

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