File hosting services like Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, and Box all have very generous free storage levels (2 GB and up). Even so, it’s easy to quickly reach the free limit, especially as you start backing up photos, movies, and other large files.
If you’re getting close to your service’s free limit, here’s a solution for quickly finding the largest of your files, so you can clean them out or back up elsewhere. This works best when you’ve set up your service to sync everything to your local Mac or Windows computer. In my case I’m using Dropbox which defaults to this mode.
The solution involves a free (open-source) software application, depending on which platform you’re using:
The steps are pretty straightforward:
- Install the utility and start it
- Point to your local storage path (in my case, the Dropbox home dir)
- Run the analysis
- From the results, find the large files and do something with them (back up, move, delete, etc.)
Both utilities show a “treemap” view which helps quickly spot the biggest individual files (e.g., movies), and groups of similar files that collectively take a lot of space (e.g., MP3).
Here are screenshots of the two apps run against my Dropbox path:
In my case I’m primarily using Dropbox and have used about half of my 5GB account. I use the WinDirStat utility regularly to find large files that are better saved elsewhere, and to keep my Dropbox backups somewhat manageable.