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First Look: WhatSize, file management utility

updated 12:00 pm EST, Fri December 12, 2008

First Look: WhatSize

No matter which Mac you have, you can never have enough hard drive space. Unlike PCs however, iMacs and Mac minis tend not to lend themselves to quick hardware upgrades -- when you buy a Mac, you're usually stuck with the hard disk that comes with it. The moment you start running out of room, you'll be forced to start deleting files. Finding which files to delete can be troublesome unless you use a tool like the shareware app WhatSize.

The program operates by simply showing you, in different ways, which files and folders are gobbling up the most disk space. Once you have this information, you can be more effective in deleting the files and folders you don't need.

WhatSize's user interface resembles an ordinary Finder window, which makes it easy to learn and use. Just click on a drive to examine and you'll see a list of folders, starting with the one that consumes the most space.



Besides listing the folders in order of size, the program also color-codes each file and folder so you can see at a glance that anything in red represents a particularly fat folder or file. Anything in purple is moderately-sized, and anything in light gray can probably be ignored, since its footprint is minimal.

The program offers three views for displaying content: Outline, Browser, and Piechart. The Browser view displays material in columns, in a manner similar to the Columns option in Finder's View menu. The Outline view displays folders that you can expand or shrink, much as with the List option from Finder.



The Piechart view is distinct but self-explanatory, presenting a chart with the relative size of each folder. Double-clicking on part of a chart drills down into a folder, while double-clicking on empty white space brings you back up a level.



The Piechart view actually takes some time to get used to, but is ultimately just one more way to search for unneeded files. No matter what view you use, you can delete a file or folder from inside the app; unfortunately, you can't use Quick Look to check contents, at least not directly. A workaround is to right-click on an item and select Reveal in Finder, which opens a matching Finder window where Quick Look becomes an option.

If you're constantly running out of disk space and need to purge your files occasionally, WhatSize is a handy tool that gets the job done simply and easily. Its three views for examining your hard disk, along with color-coding, let you zero in on the fattest files and judge whether you need them or not. After a few uses you may be surprised as to how much garbage your drive really contains, and how much wasted space you can free up. For only $12.99, WhatSize is a handy utility for managing space.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Easy

    Just buy a new Mac.

  1. lockhartt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Surprised

    The article doesn't mention that WhatSize is part of the current MacUpdate.com bundle offer.

  1. noibs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    It's pretty sad...

    It's pretty sad that that anyone has to pay to learn the information that this utility provides.

    For example, while you can use the Finder to search for and identify all files larger than "X" [kbytes, mbytes or gbytes] you can't sort the results by size.

    Apple should built this functionality into OSX.

  1. beeners

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Omni Disk Sweeper

    is an alternative as well
    http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnidisksweeper/

  1. schwie

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Disk Inventory X

    I like Disk Inventory X better.
    http://www.derlien.com/

    Or watch a demo:
    http://www.derlien.com/diskinventoryx/macbreak/mm_014.html

  1. stainless

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Schwie, it's free...

    Schwie,

    Thanks for the tip, one thing Schwie forgot to mention was that Disk Inventory X is FREE! We like free don't we boys and girls!

  1. dronkert

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Another alternative

    Another free, open source alternative: GrandPerspective http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/

    Like Disk Inventory X, it uses a 'tree map' for the graphical presentation. I think WhatSize's pie chart is prettier and it should be familiar to users of Disk Usage Analyzer on Ubuntu Linux.

  1. dronkert

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Another alternative

    Another free, open source alternative: GrandPerspective http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/

    Like Disk Inventory X, it uses a 'tree map' for the graphical presentation. I think WhatSize's pie chart is prettier and it should be familiar to users of Disk Usage Analyzer on Ubuntu Linux: http://library.gnome.org/users/baobab/stable/figures/baobab_fullscan.png.en

  1. chulitomio

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    um

    It's not hard to upgrade iMac/Mac Mini drives anyway.

  1. jay3ld

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    small files are worse

    Small files in large numbers take up just as much room.
    If you have 12,000 of files all 4kb each. That is 48000 kb, that is about 46 mb.

    If each file is 50kb and you have 1,000 well that is 50,000kb which is about 48 mb.

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