Reader Question: Best Way to Analyze a Hard Drive or SSD

A reader recently asked for a recommendation for a good hard drive and SSD analysis tool. It can sometimes be difficult and even frustrating to determine just what type of data is utilizing your precious storage. In a previous post, I explain a manual process that will help you to identify ways to reclaim space on your drive.

A good drive analysis tool can help to make this process slightly easier, by giving you more information about your data. There are a few tools available for Mac users, but this is the one that I recommend.

DaisyDisk costs just $10 on the Mac App Store (download here), and is well worth the price for those looking for such a tool. When you first launch the app, you are presented with a quick and high-level overview of your storage devices (internal and external).

Before you can analyze your data, you first need to perform a scan on the device. Actual scan time will vary depending on hardware variations, but my 1 TB SSD took 2 minutes to perform a complete scan. Once the scan is complete, we can click on "View" next to the drive to begin the analysis process.

The initial screen will look like the following:

At first glance, it may look a little confusing, but it's really quite simple. The fact that everything is color-coded makes it easy to identify the type of data that we're looking at (multimedia, applications, system, etc). When you hover over a specific section of information on the graph, the information on the right of the screen adjusts to give you real-time information relative to the section you are hovering over. For example, if I were hovering over one of the yellow sections (which happens to be multimedia content), I can quickly see that 172 GB of my SSD is being used by movies within my iTunes library (as shown below):

If I double-click on that same section, the graph will change to show me more detailed information about that section:

As you can imagine, this level of analysis (when used properly) can really help you to better understand the data that you have on your storage devices.

For those looking for such an analysis tool, I highly recommend this one! And you can't beat the price.

Posted on July 21, 2015 and filed under How To, Mac.