Tag Archive for 'windows'

missing hard-disk space? – the answer!

Many of us Win­dows users have expe­ri­enced the frus­trat­ing mys­ter­ies – we find our hard-​disks shrink­ing and shrink­ing after some period of usage. Emp­ty­ing the recy­cle bin didn’t solve the mys­tery, nei­ther did clear­ing the TEMP folder.

Here I’ll present two amaz­ing, free­ware prod­ucts from Piriform


This pro­gram is an excel­lent clean up util­ity. As far as I have tested it myself, this is unlike many other prod­ucts which try to delete as many files as they could to make them sound useful. CCleaner per­forms safe oper­a­tions and I haven’t broken my com­puter with it. On my first time use, it dis­cov­ered and recov­ered more than 1GB of my hard disk space!


Another free­ware prod­uct from the same com­pany. Defrag­gler is orig­i­nally intented to use as a defrag­men­ta­tion tool, but it sur­pris­ingly served extremely well at dis­cov­er­ing large chunk of mys­te­ri­ous files that choke up pre­cious disk space. One unique fea­ture this piece of soft­ware has is the abil­ity to defrag indi­vid­ual files. And the Ana­lyzer is blaz­ing fast too – it ana­lyzed my 80GB drive in less than 10 sec­onds. Then I switched to the File list, and I can imme­di­ately sort by file size to find out the biggest files on my disk!


Sea­soned users might say this cygwin com­mand accom­plishes the same result:

du . 2>/dev/null | sort -nr | less

But that would prob­a­bly take 10 min­utes instead of 10 seconds!

Update: WinDirStat

My latest favorite method to do this is to use WinDir­Stat. I’ll let the offi­cial screen­shot speak for itself:


Totally reveals the answer, although Defrag­gler could still be faster in show­ing the biggest file.

tricks for the Windows Power Users

Many crit­i­cize Win­dows as being not user-​friendly to power users – you can’t do things the fast way even when you’ve used it for a couple of years. Here’s some tricks I’ve accu­mu­lated over the years to make using Win­dows (hope­fully) as swift as a *nix guru.

Why should we use Win­dows when we want per­for­mance and speed? Well, I guess that’s we game play­ers have to live for

Customize your Run dialog


This is undoubt­edly the coolest and most pow­er­ful trick for Win­dows power users. To be able to type what­ever com­mand you want from the Win­dows com­mand prompt is like being able to place sym­bolic links in /usr/local/bin

  1. Create a direc­tory some­where con­ve­nient. A good place I used is %HOMEDRIVE%:%HOMEPATH%\Commands.
  2. Now you’ll want to add this direc­tory to your %PATH%. This is done by:
  3. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog
  4. Enter sysdm.cpl
  5. Append your Commands path to %PATH% in Advanced -> Envi­ron­ment Variables
  6. Now you can place short­cuts (*.lnk) and even BAT files there and they will be run when you type the com­mand in the Run dialog!

Useful commands for the Run dialog

Talk­ing about the Run dialog, there’s a hand­ful of useful com­mands you may want to mem­o­rize to speed things up a little bit:

Opens Win­dows Explorer on path
con­trol netconnections
Opens the Net­work Con­nec­tions con­trol panel
sndvol / sndvol32
Opens the volume con­trol panel
Opens System Properties
Opens DirectX Diagnostic
Opens System Information
Opens Win­dows Live Messenger

Enhance your clipboard with ClipX

The clip­board is designed decades ago. Given today’s computers’ memory size, there’s no reason to jus­tify why we can only hold one value in the clip­board. Enhance it with this free­ware ClipX. You can store like 25 pre­vi­ous clip­board entries (includ­ing pic­tures, files) and recall them with one key com­bi­na­tion (default: Shift-Ctrl-V). Very handy for system admins and programmers


Opening Task Manager directly on Vista

Microsoft changed the pop­u­lar key com­bi­na­tion Alt-Ctrl-Del to open a screen with a list of not very useful options instead of open­ing the task man­ager. Here’s the new key com­bi­na­tion to open the Task Man­ager directly:


Locking your computer from the command prompt

There are var­i­ous rea­sons you might want to do this instead of Win + L, such as from within a BAT script. Anyway here’s how to do it

rundll32 user32.dll, LockWorkStation

Putting files to the Recycle Bin from the command line

Oops, there’s no tricks to it. Down­load my recy­cle utility.

Windows: Delete to Recycle Bin from the command line

Update: Check out the new tool cmd-​recycle which is a lot more robust, writ­ten much more cleanly and just more cool!

I wrote this simple utiltiy some while ago, thought I might as well pub­lish it here.

Just copy recycle.exe to WINDOWS\system32 and you can start using

recycle recycle ... recycle * recycle ...

Full source code included (using C#). Enjoy!