FolderSizes offers powerful disk-level history tracking capabilities that can help your organization to understand the expansion and contraction of available disk space across local and network drives, storage area networks, and attached storage devices.
Disk Trend Analysis Overview
Each time FolderSizes queries a disk drive for information about available, used, and free space, it stores the resulting metrics in a database that resides in the local file system. The minimum granularity of these updates is one hour (e.g. FolderSizes will not add a historical entry for a disk if one has already been added within the last hour).
As the contents of the disk history database accumulate over time, the underlying data becomes more and more useful. Not only can FolderSizes display the usage history for any given disk, it can also calculate and display a concise growth percentage value based upon a user-customizable date range. The growth percentage indicator can quickly provide a sense of overall change in space usage across multiple storage devices.
The screen capture below demonstrates just one of the ways in which disk history is utilized. The Computer Disk Space view within the main program window shows a user-configurable collection of locally attached storage devices (including fixed, removable, CDROM, etc.) and mapped network drives.
In the image above, we can see that the local “D:” drive has grown approximately seven percent within the last 30 days (the default growth percentage calculation time frame). Clicking the adjacent details hyperlink reveals more information about disk space usage changes by displaying the Disk History window.
The Disk History window shows an overall trend graph, as well a detail view containing every historical point of data capture. With this information, we can easily determine when the bulk of the change in available disk space occurred.
Capturing Historical Disk Space Data
As mentioned earlier, FolderSizes captures and stores historical disk space usage information each time it queries a disk. Examples of when disk space data is queried includes:
- When the main window Computer view is displayed
- When the Drive Space docking panel is updated
- When a disk report is created via the Disk Reporter tool
So by default FolderSizes will capture disk history data each time you run it and view any of the above reports. And if you use FolderSizes on a regular basis, this data capture frequency may be sufficient.
But what if you wanted to capture historical information for a specific set of disks at a predetermined time interval (daily, for example)? Well, good news - the integrated task scheduling capabilities of FolderSizes makes this easy. You can schedule the creation of a disk report that contains the disks of interest. Start by defining the disk report itself, as follows:
- Click the Disk Reporter main window ribbon bar button.
- Use the Add Disks toolbar button to add one or more disks to the report. Disk space history will be tracked for each of the disks you add.
- Click the Save Disks button to save your disk report paths in the form of a text file.
- Close the Disk Reporter window.
You can now use the text file that was saved in step 3 above to schedule disk report creation:
- Click the Task Scheduler ribbon bar button in the main window. The Scheduled FolderSizes Tasks window will appear.
- Click the New Task button, and select New Disk Report Task from the resulting pop-up menu. The Disk Report Task editor window will appear.
- Browse to the location of your disk report text file (that you saved in step 3 above).
- Click the Schedule tab and configure your preferred data capture frequency. For example, you might start by configuring the task to run daily (at your preferred time).
- Click the Save button.
After following these steps, FolderSizes will now generate a disk report at periodic intervals, thereby ensuring the regular capture of disk history data.
NOTE THAT WHEN CONFIGURING THE SCHEDULED TASK, YOU HAVE THE OPTION OF EXPORTING THE RESULTING DISK REPORT IN A VARIETY OF FILE FORMATS. EXPORTING DISK REPORT DATA IS COMPLETELY OPTIONAL, AND IS NOT REQUIRED IN ORDER TO ACCUMULATE HISTORICAL DISK SPACE INFORMATION.