Find More Drive Space Fast
Review by-- Edmund X. DeJesus, WinMag.com
February 2, 2000
Windows operating systems and applications waste disk space. They create "temporary" files that last forever and install stuff everywhere that never gets uninstalled. Despite multi-gigabyte hard drives, you still have to watch space when applications average 50 MB.
Drive cleanup products like More Space (from Contact Plus) root out unnecessary files and folders to free up space. Such programs require safety, thoroughness, and simplicity. It should not blow away essential files. It should investigate many ways to save space. Plus, it should be simple. More Space meets these requirements and more.
I tested More Space on a 486 (Windows 95), a Pentium III (Windows 98), and a Pentium (NT). Installation was automatic. During installation, don't blow past the README file as usual. Read this good introduction to disk cleanup and the dire consequences of deleting the wrong files.
The first step to disk cleanup is to "Build safe harbor" (to quote the menu). This automatically builds a list of folders referenced in the Windows registry, along with file extensions (like SYS) to be careful about. Any attempt to delete such files causes a request for permission first. I appreciated this when I overzealously wanted to off a few folders dear to Windows' heart.
More Space impressed me with its many angles of approaching cleanup. Quick Clean targets temporary files. Then you can search for duplicate files, file and folder hogs, and files you haven't accessed in a while.
Paranoid about losing work for clients, I keep copies of copies of copies, so duplicate file search was my next stop. You can search for files alike in name, size, or date - and any combination thereof. I suggest you match all three, practically guaranteeing they are identical. You can also specify name wildcards and size ranges. This search took a while on my 486: for slow machines, schedule your search beforehand. On Pentiums it took less than five minutes for approximately 10 GB drives.
The result is a list of duplicate files, for each of which you can call up details. I quickly realized there were entire duplicate directories, removed them (with Explorer), saved 50 MB immediately, and ran the search again.
More Space can send unneeded files to the Recycle Bin, delete them entirely, or compress them into zip files. My advice: be cautious and zip everything. If you're wrong, you can always recover a file. If you go a month with no problems, then delete the zip file.
I also accumulate mongo BMP, PDF, and PPT files that are only temporarily useful. File Hog lets you specify name wildcards and size ranges. This search ran rapidly on all machines, giving a list of bloated files I expunged without compunction.
More Space can also gather detailed statistics about your hard disk usage, which is very educational, although it took a while on the 486.
In sum, More Space is simple, thorough, and safe to use. It deserves the 2.5 MB it takes on my hard drive, as well as a place on our WinList.