Much to my displeasure, I recently discovered that my primary partition for Windows 7 was dangerously full. Windows 7 will tell you about such maladies when they reach a dangerous point (which according to the engineering gods is between 10-15% remaining free space by volume.) This is all fine and dandy. However, with more than 5 terabytes of total storage and a setup that reserves most of my primary partition for applications, there should be no reason why I would need to buy a larger hard drive to store my files. I have about 200 gigabytes of photo files on the partition and of course Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate as well as a buttload of applications. That should be about 450 gigabytes.
Money is tight and I’m not interested in spending a few hundred bucks on terabytes without good reason. That led me to search for a program that would analyze my used space and tell me what the heck was going on. Google led me to Gizmo’s Freeware and a fabulous article entitled Best Free Disk Space Analyzer. The article is right on target in my opinion.
SpaceSniffer is my #1 for two simple reasons first, and foremost it’s free, and second it seems to be far and away the best free space disk analyzer I’ve seen to date. Using SpaceSniffer is fairly simple, I just clicked on the drive I wanted to work with and hit scan. Right-clicking on a box gave me several options such as delete, cut, copy, paste, etc, depending on what I had install on my machine. With these commands and the visual representation of SpaceSniffer I was able to quickly spot and delete forgotten and useless files, that otherwise would have gone unnoticed, bloating my hard drive and pulling down performance. When I left-clicked on a box I found myself zooming into the specific heading containing the box allowing me a much clearer picture of what I was looking at. The toolbar also has some interesting options such as the more and less detail buttons. These detail buttons allowed me to decide just how many file levels I wanted to view at once.The green star button toggles the option to see the the free space left on my drive. Under configure I was also able to change the colors of the treemap, because brown and blue just wasn’t doing for me.
I have a co-worker who uses WinDirStat religiously and it’s also quite good at telling you where the horror of waste files is hidden in the bowels of your hard drive. Important note if you’re exploring for lost files that take up lots of room – WinDirStat hasn’t been updated in several years. SpaceSniffer has, and it is Windows 7 compatible.
In any case, when I ran my search, I discovered that half of my terabyte partition was being consumed by acr*.tmp files. That revealing fact gleaned thanks to SpaceSniffer led me to this article pinning the blame squarely on Adobe, a company long maligned for a multiplicity of reasons. If you’ve never been to the Dear Adobe blog it’s worth a visit just to read the gripes. In any case, rather than spending bucks you will have to apply for federal stimulus aid to pay back your credit card fraudsters with, clean up your temp files. Adobe may not admit they make bloatware, but they do tell you how to use Microsoft’s built-in tools to get your hard drive humming again.