Mr. Roboto

Drilling for Files

This free utility can handle most of your file-management jobs.

File management is a critical part of your job. Most of you seem to prefer an easy-to-use GUI program to accomplish that task, so I think you'll enjoy what Mr. Roboto has for you this month.

There are many tools and techniques for file management, often using scripts or PowerShell. I've recently been using a freeware utility called JDiskReport from It runs on Windows 2000, XP or Vista, and requires Java 1.4 or later (Java 6 is preferred). It's a cross-platform tool, so you can also download an appropriate version to use with Solaris, Mac or Linux.

Your computer should have at least 64MB of physical RAM. If you run into memory limitations -- which can happen when scanning an extraordinarily large number of files -- check the help documentation for advice. My computer has 2GB of RAM and I scanned almost 140,000 files with no problems.

Scan and Deliver
When you launch the program, you'll have a choice of which drive or folder tree to scan. You can also open the results of a saved scan. I did a new scan on my C: drive and it scanned about 54GB of data in less than five minutes.

JDiskReport can present your file-size data in a variety of different formats.

The real value in this tool, however, is most apparent after the scan. JDiskReport gives you a colored pie chart showing how much disk space each folder is consuming. Hover your mouse over a slice and you'll see what percentage of both the total drive and parent folder the selected folder is using. You can also show the results in a horizontal bar chart if you prefer. There's a folder tree in the left-hand pane, and selecting any folder will update the graph.

No matter which graph you use, double-click a folder and JDiskReport will drill down and present a graph. This can lead to some interesting discoveries. On my laptop, I drilled down to my user folder and saw that App Data was 2.5GB. Drilling even further, I found some applications hogging space they didn't really need.

If you select a top-level folder, you'll have other interesting options. You can get a list of the 50 largest files in that folder tree. You can also sort the list by date in either ascending or descending order. Click the "Size Dist," and you'll get a graph showing file size groupings. Clicking the "Modified" tab will show you a file aging chart. The last option is "Types," which will give you a breakdown by file type. Run this on your shared folders and see how many .MP3, .AVI and .MOV files you have. For all these options, you can choose to present data in a pie graph, bar chart or a table file list.

You can scan any drive on your computer, even a mapped network drive. It's all the same to JDiskReport. The utility also hooks into Windows Explorer. Right-click any folder and you can launch a JDiskReport scan rooted at the folder. You can set preferences in JDiskReport if there are any particular folders you'd like excluded from your scan. You can also print graphs and lists, although it doesn't handle page breaks of long lists very gracefully.

Management Made Easy
JDiskReport may not detect all kinds of system links and junction points, which is one limitation. This may lead to incorrect statistics. If that happens, I'd suggest scanning the junction point target directly. In all fairness, though, I've found this to be true of many folder-scanning programs and scripts.

Did I mention this is free? If you have any folder-management chores, download a copy and kick the tires. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some scanning to do.

About the Author

Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.


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