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Review: DaisyDisk: Disk Visualization and Analyzer Tool for the Mac

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Review: DaisyDisk - Disk Visualization and Analyzer Tool for the Mac

DaisyDisk: Reader's Choice Award winner 2010

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The Bottom Line

DaisyDisk is simply one of the best disk utilities for finding out how a hard drive's space is being used. If you have ever found yourself short on available disk space and wondered where it all went, DaisyDisk will not only tell you how much space each file and folder occupies, but also display the information in one of the most visually appealing and intuitive ways we have ever seen.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Provides compelling sunburst display of hard drive space.
  • Makes it easy to move through a hard drive's hierarchy.

Cons

  • File deletion is handled manually via the Finder.
  • Can't customize file/folder information that displays, such as viewing creation or modification date
  • No help files within the application.

Description

  • Mac OS X 10.5 or later
  • Works with any storage device attached to a Mac
  • Sunburst display makes it easy to locate bloated files and folders
  • Integrates with Apple's QuickLook to preview files
  • $19.95

Guide Review - Review: DaisyDisk: Disk Visualization and Analyzer Tool for the Mac

At its heart, DaisyDisk is a simple idea: an application that shows how your hard drive's space is being used. DaisyDisk scans your hard drive and displays the result on a color-coded sunburst map that resembles a daisy, with the hard drive as the center. DaisyDisk displays both the hierarchical structure of files and folder and the relative size of each.

The result is a display that is easy to navigate, and shows you at a glance where any file gluttons are hiding. Let your mouse cursor hover over a segment and you can see information about a file or folder, including its size and any sub folders it may contain. Even better, you can see the sizes of sub folders.

You can dive down into the visual sunburst map by clicking on any segment to reveal additional details and the structure of your hard drive. If you run across a file you don't remember, just press the space bar to use Apple's QuickLook to display the file's contents. Want to delete a huge file you don't need? Right-click the display segment and select 'Reveal in Finder.' You can then easily drag the space hog to the trash.

A Real World Test

I decided to test DaisyDisk on both my Mac Pro, which has lots of free space available, and a G5 Mac I use as a server, which is currently getting very short on space.

DaisyDisk starts by displaying any hard drives currently connected to your Mac, along with each drive's overall size, space used, and available free space. To dig deeper into a drive, you need to have DaisyDisk scan the drive. On my Mac Pro, DaisyDisk took just under two minutes to scan a 500 GB hard drive that had about 35% free space. The server took closer to 4 minutes, but it had only 12% free space.

Once the scan was complete, DaisyDisk displayed a sunburst map and I quickly learned that my MacPro had a virtualized copy of Windows XP on the startup drive that didn't belong there. I have all my Windows virtual environments resident on their own hard drives. This one must have been forgotten, as it was marked as last used in July of 2007. Deleting the WinXP environment freed up 10 GB of space.

On the server, I discovered huge log files taking up all the room. Log files should be rolled up weekly and compressed. Evidently something went wrong and log files hadn't been compressed for quite some time.

By using DaisyDisk, I quickly discovered what was causing the space issues on the server, and just as quickly freed up 10 GB of storage on my personal Mac. What was really compelling was how quickly the sunburst display allowed me to find these issues, something that could normally have taken many hours of detective work.

Recomendation

DaisyDisk is so easy to use, and its visual display so compelling, that I recommend all Mac users include it in their arsenal of system utilities. Keeping a Mac running at tip-top performance just got a bit easier.

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