Ottawa PC Users' Group (OPCUG)


   Copyright and Usage

   Privacy Policy

   Contact Us


TreeSize Professional

by Chris Taylor

I have an issue with my desktop computer’s hard drive. I am only using about 665 GB of the 2 TB drive, so I’m not in dire need of free space. What’s bugging me are backups. I use a 5 TB external hard drive to store backup images. A backup set (full backup and 30 days of incrementals) takes about 1.2 TB of space, meaning I can only store 3 full month’s worth of backups. I want more!

If I could shave the monthly backup set by a couple of hundred gigabytes, I could store 4 months of backups. A file cleanup was clearly in order. I could do it manually, but I knew using a program designed for the task would be a much better approach.

TreeSize Professional from JAM Software is the most powerful program I’ve seen for analyzing how disk space is being used. Just load the program and specify the areas you want to scan. These can be one or more local partitions or paths, or partitions or paths on networked computers. Hit the Scan button and wait a while.

But you don’t have to wait long! TreeSize is lightning quick. My local hard drive, which is partitioned as a main C: partition and a supplementary D: partition, has almost 450,000 files using 665 GB. The scan completed in 37 seconds!

There are many ways of looking at the results. The left-hand panel always displays the tree structure and is sorted by size or number of files. Customizable highlighting shows the relative size of folders. In the tree, selecting any line from the combined virtual root of all scans down to a single bottom-level folder shows the details of that section of the tree in the right-hand panel under a series of tabs.

Double click any segment of the chart to drill down through a folder structure. The chart updates to show you either the size or number of files at that folder level and below.

A Windows File Explorer-style display … on steroids! Besides the normal
Name, Last Modified date and Size, you can display any of 38 attributes collected by TreeSize, including Creation Date, Last Accessed date, Owner, (number of sub)Folders, Link Target, Author (for Microsoft Office documents), and more. Sort on any column by clicking on its header.

TreeSize has classified hundreds of different file extensions and displays summary information on 17 groupings such as
Graphics, Mail, Office, Audio, Video, etc. Groups can be expanded to show the details on individual file extensions. You can modify existing groups and add your own. I created a new group called Photo Files that included just the file extensions used for my photos.

My photographs taking up 490 GB

Report by NTFS file owner. Outside of an enterprise environment, this may be of limited use. But if you have multiple user accounts on the computer, this will let you track down who is using a lot of space.

Age of Files
You can create any number of file age groups (e.g. last week, 1 week to 6 months, 7 months to 2 years, & over 2 years). It can be based on creation, last modified, or last accessed date. Data is shown as a bar chart. Double-click a bar to display the files in that age group.

Top 100 Files
Details the largest 100 files.

TreeSize keeps track of total size of your scans and displays how the total used space varies over time.

I used a variety of methods to track down files that might be candidates for deletion.

A few quick wins were found in the Top 100 Files. I no longer need some videos, a few huge Photoshop images, installation files for programs I haven’t used in years, and driver packages for computers I no longer own. That freed up over 10 GB very quickly.

I selected the virtual root and clicked the Extensions tab. 76% of in-use disk space was being used by my custom group Photo Files. I expanded that group. 25% of all in-use space was being used by 5,923 Nikon RAW.nef files. My main camera records both .jpg and .nef files. While RAW files are useful in certain circumstances, they are not always required.

I double-clicked the line for .nef. TreeSize filtered the left-hand tree to show the folders that contain that file type, but I found it better to click on Show files for this extension. The companion TreeSize File Search program loaded and showed me all .nef files in a single list that could be sorted by path, size, date, etc. I quickly saw that many were in folders for projects where I don’t need the RAW files. I sent about 20 GB of files to oblivion.

File Search for Nikon RAW files

TreeSize File Search would have allowed me to play it safe. Clicking on the Delete items button gives options to delete files, move them to the recycle bin, move them to a ZIP file, or move them to a different location (such as a different drive or computer). When you move items to a different location, you can preserve the path name, leave a shortcut in the original location pointing to the moved file, log the operation, and even create an undo script to reverse the action. Very cool!

File Search has some pre-defined search criteria and I used Temporary Files, Oldest Files, and Duplicate Files which turned up a few other candidates for deletion. One powerful capability of File Search is de-duplication. For Duplicate files, TreeSize can replace all but one of the files with an NTFS hard link.

TreeSize can export data to a wide variety of formats including Excel, CSV, XML, and PDF for record keeping, later comparison, or further data analysis.

Most people will never run into limits when using TreeSize Professional. I have used it in an enterprise environment to scan several hundred areas on over 50 servers. With 20 GB RAM on the computer doing the scanning, I found that I was hitting the paging file (which slows things dramatically) after scanning about 100 million files, so I broke scans down into separate scanning job and scripted them so I could automate running monthly scans in an easy and repeatable manner. Besides performing the scanning, the scripts export the data in several formats that allow me to analyse the data further.

The included 171-page PDF manual is impressive in its completeness and clarity. It includes an FAQ section that is highly recommended for getting the most out the program, as is the command line section for those who want to automate processes. But rest assured you don’t need to read the manual to use TreeSize effectively. As the Managing Director at JAM Software told me “I always try to design software in a way that the manual is not needed, especially for average use cases.”

Is TreeSize a cure-all for solving my disk space issues? No. It certainly exposes where the problems lie. But for me, the biggest reclamation moving forward will be going through my remaining 140 GB of RAW photos to see just which ones I need to keep. More cleanup is probably in order to get that fourth monthly backup to fit on my backup drive.

There are three versions of TreeSize.

TreeSize Free is stripped down to the bare essentials, but may be useful for those who only need the Details tab or a TreeMap (helps you hone in on large folders). TreeSize File Search is not included, although a free program called UltraSearch is available from JAM Software.

TreeSize Personal removes support for Windows Server and automation through scripting. I think this is the version appropriate for users outside of an enterprise environment.

TreeSize Professional is the version I used for this review.

Bottom Line:

JAM Software:
TreeSize Free v4.1: Free
TreeSize Personal v6.3.7: US$24.95
TreeSize Professional v. 6.3.7: US$54.95

Originally published: May 2018

top of page



Archived Reviews





The opinions expressed in these reviews
do not necessarily represent the views of the
Ottawa PC Users' Group or its members.