Saturday, November 20, 2010

A handy hint

After downloading a programme to watch through the BBC's iPlayer last night, I noticed that my computer had mysteriously lost a lot of free hard disk space over the past few months. I just spent the morning weeding out a load of programs (games, mostly) that I no longer use and freed up about 10GB before finding, on going to defragment, that the culprit was in fact none other than iPlayer itself.

It stores videos in 'My Documents\My Videos\BBC iPlayer\repository\', and I found 11.8GB of old television programmes lying around which iPlayer had decided it wasn't going to bother deleting. I couldn't watch any of them, of course, but that did explain the mystery of the disappearing hard disk space, and they were deleted forthwith, with no ill effects on iPlayer's running. If you're watching telly through iPlayer, it may be worth checking that it hasn't done the same thing to you.

[EDIT: Thanks to Mr Potarto in the comments who recommended a slightly different piece of software, I discovered Scanner (link), which is an absolutely tiny bit of freeware. It tots up and displays your folders in their various sizes on a 'sunburst' chart, kind of like a pie chart but then with sub-folders displayed at higher radii. I squeezed another 8GB out by using it to find my large folders and then deciding what I could painlessly lose.]


Mr Potarto said...

In a situation like this, SpaceMonger is your friend...

Phil Walker said...

Aha, there is software out there which maps the folder structure and charts it in an area-proportional way so you can see at a glance what's taking up the space. I've always thought it too obvious an idea not to have been implemented but never knew where to look. Thanks!