I like programs which show you how your disk is laid out. Finding which files take up the most space is usually the culprit of why your disk space if slowly disappearing. The visual apps are the best, it takes you milliseconds to work out which files are the space hogs and may need to be euthanized. I’ve reviewed GrandPerspective in the past, that was old school. Today’s app, DaisyDisk, takes file visualization and uses all of the power of Mac OS X to display your files.
As mentioned this app is really visual. If you are familiar with the Sci-Fi movies when circles and disks move to visually update the information (Star Trek comes to mind). This app follows the same sort of feel. When you begin, you select the folder or disk you want to visualize. The app will then run through your disk, or access one of the many system files which stores your disk contents, and begin to display your data. The gathering of data will take a couple of minutes depending on how big your disk is, if you have lots of small files this process will take a lot longer. When its done it will have a nice growl message telling you the application is ready to be used.
Once as the app has finished you will be presented with an image similar to the one below. You can now begin navigating your file system.
Each set of folders is colour coded depending on where it belongs. System folders are in red and pink, Applications are coloured blue, User folders are in green and Documents in yellow. The colours are decided depending on the main folders on your disk and will vary depending on whats on your disk. The area of each space will signify the size of the folder or area on your disk. In the image above I have a lot of documents for myself (as you would expect) and a lot less system files.
The length of the spurs relate to the depth of a file in terms of folders. For example the blue spur on the left at the very end is 15 folders deep. The app has found that there is a lot of files and reside is a large folder. These files are quite deep in my file system and is promptly shown it on the chart. Folders are coloured where as files are in grey. It takes a while to get use to using the app and you will probably figure it by using the app rather than reading this review.
Information about each files or folder is shown in the side bar on the right. It gives a list of files and there sizes, it also colour codes them so you can quickly see what type of files they are (system, documents etc). When you click on any of the areas (except files) it will zoom in and re-render the image with that folder and sub-folders contents. Here you can move around your Mac’s file system and view the size of each file and folder in relation to each other. You can click on any area to quickly move to it. You can use the file tree at the top of the screen to quickly move back to the beginning.
Moving through your files system is very animated, every time you click on a folder it will re-draw the folder contents, but animate the size of the folders as it draws them. For example if you click on a yellow folder in the disk, it will remove every other coloured folder and re-size the pie and remove the gap. Its really fun to watch and use, due to the way the program words you will get a different image every time you use the program making each time your run the app unique and different.
You can also use Quicklook to work with the app. For example if you hover over any folder or file and press space bar, Quicklook will run and show you the file or folder in question making the app slightly more practical to use. As well as this there is also a right click menu option which can open a folder in Finder, which is a great shortcut if you want to work on a file or folder directly.
Overall this app is brilliant to use. It really shows off the power of the Mac operating system and should be a gloating tool for anyone using a Windows machine. It is also really good to navigate and see the size of files and folders in questions. I’ve found that the big blue spur in the image above can be deleted as it is no longer needed. It is a joy to use and I love playing with it. I personally think something like this should come built into Finder.
The only problem with this app is its price. It costs $19.95 which I personally think is a bit to much. Like most program there is a novelty factor and don’t think you would use this app constantly. However if you have a lot of hard drives and want a cool visual way to see files and folders this app may be a consideration. As this very app on this site, download it and try it out. You may enjoy using it.
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Mac OS X 10.5