Raise a glass to WinDirStat: the space-saving hero of PC gaming

WinDirStat app file tree with SSDs edited in foreground
(Image credit: Future)

If you're familiar with WinDirStat then you already know why we're head over heels for this nifty application. You might as well cheers and be off for this one, too: this is for anyone not yet familiar with this not-so-hidden gem of PC organisation, that which is more useful than ever right now in PC gaming.

What is WinDirStat? You'd hardly guess it from the name, but WinDirStat is a free open-source visual disk usage analyser. Sounds riveting, yeah? Trust us, it is. It shows you what is taking up your storage space, and it does so through the use of exciting colour-coded shapes.

Seriously, want to really know how much space Call of Duty is taking up on your PC? Get WinDirStat on there, select the drives you'd like analysed, watch the yellow critters, those that bear little resemblance to a popular Bandai Namco mascot, I'm sure, chomp down on your data. After a short while, presto! You've got yourself a map of your PC's storage, organised by file size.

The bigger the box, the larger the file. Every file exists within a proportional directory box. Click on a colourful box, and it'll take you to that exact file's directory location.

It even offers a handy extension list so that you can see what type of file is generally sucking up all your space.

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(Image credit: Future)

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I'm sure all but the most moustachioed indie gaming savants know that we're in a period of rapidly expanding game install sizes. WinDirStat is a handy tool to visualise what that actually means for your PC's storage space, and what you can delete in order to save space.

It also helps you track down those smaller video files and downloads that may not amount to much singularly, but combined can swallow up a significant chunk of your SSD.

You can even monitor network drives in the app, as I found out when I discovered a single 200GB video file in the shared PC Gamer Google Drive. RIP the internet connection of whoever uploaded that.

Dare not lay thy eyes upon the mighty red file, for it is too great for mere mortals to comprehend. (Image credit: Future)

WinDirStat is an exceptionally popular app, too, with over 19,000 downloads per week on hosting site SourceForge. WinDirStat is hosted all over the place, too, so just be careful to pick up a legitimate copy from a trusted source. WinDirStat offers a guide on how to verify your download files, if you're after that extra step of security. 

The official WinDirStat website recommends downloading from FossHub primarily, but SourceForge is also a listed legitimate download site. You can also check out the app repository over at OSDN.

So it's a great app that's only becoming more useful for PC gaming with every major, byte-breakingly big release, an we recommend all PC gamers keep this app in their back pocket.

Hats off to the developers, too. Even more so for maintaining and distributing the app for free. Cheers.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.