Managing disks and files is one of the most common everyday tasks that IT professionals deal with. Sometimes it seems that Microsoft falls a little bit short when providing tools for managing these tasks. Fortunately there are a number of 3rd party alternatives that come to the rescue. Here are three freeware utilities that I can't live without.
Sequoia View. This is one my favorite tools. For those of us who manage file servers, keeping track of where all the disk space goes can certainly be challenging, and Windows provides no easy method. Using SequoiaView, IT admins can quickly track down disk space hogs and identify the types of files clogging up your business's servers. SequoiaView uses a visualization technique known as "cushion treemaps" to create an image of your hard disks contents. File types are color coded, and a mouse over quickly provides the name and path of the file in question. What used to take lots of time drilling down through various directories can now be accomplished in a single glance.
Unlocker. It can be frustrating when you try to delete or move a file and you are unable to because of a lock on the file. Often the culprit is a system process or anti-virus software. Unlocker is a simple tool which alleviates this issue for you. Right-clicking a file or folder will reveal an icon to launch Unlocker. If the file or folder is locked, you'll be given the option to unlock it, or kill the offending process. You can then delete or move the file. No need to reboot your computer
DeFraggler is a simple, light-weight defragmentation app which improves upon the functionality of the utility built into Windows is a number of ways. For one, it allows you to defragment individual files. If your performance is flagging, and you want to quickly defragment specific essential files, Defraggler will do that for you. Defraggler also brings graphics back to defragging. I don't know why Windows no longer offers a visual representation of the fragmentation status of your disk, but its back with Defraggler. Also, if you select a file in the file list, Defraggler will highlight for you where on your drive it is located. This handy little 800k utility also offers niceties such as quick defragmentation, file-type, exclusions, and scheduling. Lastly, if you want to move larger files to the end of your disk, so that smaller files will be accessed more quickly, DeFraggler is there for you.
Michael Scalisi is an IT manager based in Alameda, California.