Windows Tip: How To Find Folders That Are Taking Up Space On Your Hard Disk


winlogo.jpgWhen using Windows Explorer for viewing your files and directories on your Computer, one item missing from Explorer's default view is which directories are taking up the most space on your hard disk. You can easily view how much Total Size and Free Space is available, but Windows Explorer does not report individual directory sizes unless you look at the properties of each directory.

To remedy this problem of finding which directory is eating up your free space, I like to use a tool called Directory Disk Usage.

Directory Disk Usage, known as diruse is a free command line tool found on Microsoft's Help and Support site. Using diruse is easy. After you have downloaded the tool, install by clicking on diruse_setup.exe.

After installing the program, open a command prompt and run:

cd "\Program Files\Resource Kit"
diruse /M /* c:\

/M – reports in Magabytes
/*  – Uses the top-level directories residing in the specified directory (
In the above example C:\ is the specifed directory)

Below is the results of the output:

Size (mb)      Files  Directory
0.22          3       SUB-TOTAL: C:\$VAULT$.AVG
301.49       3649    SUB-TOTAL: C:\Documents and Settings
539.93       6797    SUB-TOTAL: C:\I386
4767.69      13447   SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER
957.58       8666    SUB-TOTAL: C:\pebuilder3110a
1278.40      12564   SUB-TOTAL: C:\Program Files
504.03       1586    SUB-TOTAL: C:\RECYCLER
2194.60       8086    SUB-TOTAL: C:\System Volume Information
2346.51      15754   SUB-TOTAL: C:\WINDOWS
12890.45      70552   TOTAL

The above results show the C:\OTHER directory is using 4767.69 Mega Bytes of disk space. Next, I'll run the diruse command again, against C:\OTHER to drill down and find the exact directory eating up my disk space:

diruse /M /* c:\OTHER

Below is the results of the output:

Size (mb)  Files      Directory
2.91     14          SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\BusinessInfo
61.98   1309        SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\software
41.60     41         SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\drivers
0.02     21          SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\work
3.03      9          SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\config
0.00      3          SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\lnetwork
182.16    537        SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\bkup
14.71      6          SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\vpnclient
1.81     60          SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\info
817.20    224        SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\tools
515.25    449        SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\wtnfiles
3089.50  10765       SUB-TOTAL: C:\OTHER\MP3
4730.18  13438       TOTAL

As you can see from the results above, the MP3 directory is using 3.089.50 Gigabytes of disk space. From here I can open up Windows Explorer and start cleaning up or backup to an USB Drives any unused Mp3 files to reclaim back some disk space.

Diruse is a versitile tools that replaces the missing functionality of Windows Explorer with displaying individual directory sizes on you Hard Disk. If the output of your list is large, dir use can redirect the output to a text file to help you view it. To redirect use the > character as shown below:

diruse /M /* c:\OTHER > "\Program Files\Resource Kit\output.csv"

Diruse syntax:

DIRUSE {/s | /v} {/m | /k | /b} [/c] [/,] [/q:# [/l] [/a] [/d] [/o]] [/*] [DirList]


includes subdirectories of the specified directories in the output.

writes progress reports while scanning subdirectories. The /v is ignored if /s is specified.

displays disk usage in megabytes.

displays disk usage in kilobytes.

displays disk usage in bytes (default).

uses compressed file size instead of apparent file size.

displays the thousands separator (comma or period) in file sizes.

marks directories that exceed the specified size (#) with an exclamation point (!). If /m (megabytes) or /k (kilobytes) is not specified, the size is assumed to be in bytes. If /q is specified and any directory is found that exceeds the specified size, then the return code is ONE. Otherwise the return code is ZERO.

The following switches can be used in conjunction with /q:

/l Writes overflows to the log file diruse.log in the current directory.

/a Specifies that an alert is generated if sizes specified by /q:# are exceeded. The Alerter service must be running, and the alert appears only when you are using Diruse.

/d Displays only directories that exceed specified sizes.

/o Specifies that subdirectories are not checked to see if they exceed the specified size.

/* uses the top-level directories residing in the specified DirList.

DirList specifies a list of directories to check. DirList is required. Use semicolons, commas, or spaces to separate multiple directories.

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Comments on Windows Tip: How To Find Folders That Are Taking Up Space On Your Hard Disk Leave a Comment

February 27, 2007

George @ 1:33 am #

This may sound silly, but I have a question. Does listening to radio stations, that you normally would on a home stereo, take up space on your hard disk if you listen to them for long periods of time? eg. Rock 101 FM in Vancouver…I pick this up so clear on the internet, better than the home stereo system…

March 4, 2007

Ashley @ 4:48 pm #

Hi, im running windows vista, its eatin up space like you would not believe and i don't know where its going, it has somewhere taken up 6gigs in the past half day and have no idea where it has gone as there are no folders where it is being used, please help. Also diruse does not seem to work with vista, only for windows 2000 i think, do you know any other programs that will tell me where the space is being used ??? Any help will help alot. Thanks very much

March 5, 2007

Ash @ 6:27 pm #

thanks very much for reply, i found the problem though. a very big problem, 20gigs of a problem by the end of the day! it turned out it was the System Restore feature which takes 15% of your hdd space. cheers anyway tho, great site also

March 17, 2007

Connie Hawkins @ 6:40 pm #

thank you so much for this reference

July 11, 2007

Dave Ashworth @ 8:18 pm #

Has noone used windirstat?

It's a bit unusual in that it has strange colours to represent files in directories but it works really well, It helped me find an 8Gb DVD copy a customer had put in an obscure directory with a big blob of colour!

September 8, 2008

Roger Nelson @ 12:15 pm #

Thank you for the article. It is useful to see the directory sizes.
I have a new mystery, however. The listing is right for most subdirectories of C:\ but it includes a few cases of incorrect or impossible directory sizes. For example, c:\programdata shows 10275 Mb, but the explorer properties shows 677 Mb; c:\users shows 32771 Mb, but properties shows just 1.2 Gb. There are some more cases like this, but the total reported by diruse is literally impossible. I have a nominal 80 Gb disk, but the diruse /m /* c:\ command shows an impossible total of 102515.13 Mb (over 100 Gb).
The incorrect dir sizes seem to be all for such directories as users\all users where I find that even with elevated privileges I cannot get access, so perhaps it doesn't matter. But I do wonder what is going on — especially since there still remains a lot of disk usage that I cannot see.


October 28, 2008

One of the easiest tools around for comparing directory sizes is still SequoiaView. It's small, free and lets you customize your Results by using coors and filters.

September 18, 2009

Hello Pal!

I thank you, as everyone here, so much for this tip!

It was and will be very useful for us in a company that I work!

Thanks again!

From Brazil!

April 10, 2010

Birddog @ 5:30 pm #

@Watching The Net:

"Watching" U R DA BEST!, I can't thank you enuf. I've spent the last seven hours trying to figure out why I lost 57Gigs of disk space after a restore. I mean my disk space went to ZERO. I downloaded treesize and within ten minutes it ZEROED in on the problem, which was 57 Gigs of Kaspersky files that should have been deleted from Program Data Folder.
Thanks Again!!!!

April 19, 2010

jez @ 6:03 pm #

I don't usually write on forums, but if you have problems with missing hard disk space then I highly recommend Treesize… 122gb found and restored…phew


June 5, 2010

ewan @ 9:07 am #

this seems a good tool, can it be used to find out similar info on a remote computer ie I wish to find out the large directories on another server in my organisation but can't install the diruse tool there?

June 18, 2010

Manni @ 12:02 pm #

i always use the freeware GetFoldersize to find out what files and folders are taking up my hard drive spaces:
the drive scan is really fast and the app supports more than 255 characters path length!

September 9, 2010

alex @ 12:59 pm #

The following page:
contains a very useful free windows app called DarkMatter that clearly highlights which files and folders are taking up space.
It can analyse drives, specific folders and even unc shares.

October 22, 2016

ILMAR @ 9:28 am #

Years gone by using CPM & PDP11, but presently I am thankful to use your solutions!
Ilmar only 91…

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