Here’s a go-to-tool that should be in the arsenal of any Mac user – Disk Inventory X. Built by Tjark Derlien and offered absolutely free under GPL this is by far the most intuitive free disk content review application we have come to use.
Although the application icon is nothing to shout about, the application itself is a vast improvement on another similar application, Grand Perspective by Erwin Bonsma.
Both applications purport to provide Mac users with a quick overview of what is consuming their hard drive space and exactly where it is.
Although Grand Perspective does a good job at analysing your Mac’s hard drive content and presenting it in a graphical form for easier quick reference, Disk Inventory X steps it up a notch by providing the addition of listing out the content in a simple to reference Directory Tree format that hastens the process of identifying just what is chewing up all of your precious storage real estate.
You can hover your mouse over the graphical representation in both applications and it will provide you with a directory path to the respective folder represented by the area your mouse is hovering. In Disk Inventory X clicking on a particular area quickly directs the focus of the Directory Tree to the location that matches the selected rectangle.
These applications are especially useful in identifying the often asked about but seldom answered query of “What does ‘Other’ represent in the Storage tab of the About This Mac Window?”.
Its not uncommon for users to come to us expressing concern caused by the huge amount of space (sometimes going into hundreds of GB) that “Other” takes up on their hard drives. Often times users are vexed that because OS X does not provide a simple way to decipher what it is that is actually chewing up their hard drive space under “Other”, there isn’t much that they can actively do to reclaim their previous storage real estate.
Now with Disk Inventory X, finding out the offending space hogger is just a few clicks away. More often than not “Other” is consumed by system cache files or legacy backups of your iOS devices that iTunes has clung to over the years.
Hats off and a big thanks to Tjark Derlien for Disk Inventory X and Erwin Bonsma for Grand Perspective.
The only minor gripe is that both could do better with their respective application icons as the current appear unenthusiastic otherwise, these are both great applications to keep on hand.
One last note of caution. Both applications tend to reveal OS X’s entire directory structure to describe where files which are consuming space are and this goes against the ethos of Apple’s OS X GUI design which is intentionally built to deter and prevent users from accidentally deleting important system files. If you intend to delete files that appear foreign to your regular usage of Finder, we strongly recommend consulting an experienced Mac user beforehand otherwise you risk maiming your OS X and possibly rendering it inoperational.