Windows XP doesn’t come with a utility that allows you to see what files/folders are taking up the most room on your hard drive. Don’t fret: sure there are programs out there you can download and install to do the job, but did you know you don’t have to actually install any software on Windows to actually find out what’s hogging all of your disk space? Well, it’s really easy as long as you have a Linux Live CD lying around. In this tutorial, we will be using Linux Mint 12 since it’s very popular right now in the tech world it’s currently leading the pack according to Distrowatch. Baobab, more commonly known as Disk Usage Analyzer, is part of gnome-utils and it is just an awesome graphical disk usage analyzer. You’ll find it on just about all Linux distros running the GNOME desktop environment.
Fire up your Linux Live CD running a GNOME desktop environment, in this example you will see we are using Linux Mint 12. Then, navigate to: Applications | Accessories | Disk Usage Analyzer
Here you will see Disk Usage Analyzer, and since we are in a Live environment, it defaults to the Live CD environment as shown on the right. Click on the green “Scan a folder” icon.
Choose your hard drive listed on the left side. It will be the item that mostly likely has a size listed in GigaBytes – In this case it’s my 39 GB Filesystem. Then click Open in the bottom-right corner. If you have multiple hard drives they will be listed here as well.
After the filesystem is scanned, it displays the top folders on the left in list form, also graphically on the right side, showing color-coded comparisons of each folder. You can also view it as a treemap chart if you choose.
Hopefully this tutorial will give you some ideas on how even if you don’t use Linux as your daily operating system, you can take take advantage of some of the unique capabilities you gain by at least having a little Linux at your disposal!
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