Reclaim Disk Space From Vista SP1

With MS Vista Service Pack 1 now available, some users have observed a non-trivial hit to their available disk space after installing the update.

What’s happening is that SP1 backs up previous versions of many components during installation, consuming quite a bit of disk space in the process. If you’re completely confident that you won’t need to uninstall SP1, you can actually reclaim that space. Vista SP1 includes an optional tool called Vsp1cln.exe which will remove the files backed up during installation. After the Vista SP1 installation completes, Vsp1cln.exe will be located in your Windows\system32 directory. You can run it by dropping to a command prompt (or press “Winkey + R” on your keyboard) and and typing Vsp1cln.exe and pressing Enter.

The cleanup utility will warn you that you’re about to make your Vista SP1 installation permanent, and prompt you for confirmation. Once confirmed, the cleanup process will begin. Again, don’t execute this file removal utility unless you’re certain that you won’t need to uninstall Vista SP1. But if you’ve created a full backup of your computer prior to installing Vista SP1 (I actually prefer to image my entire system before doing this sort of thing), this may not be much of a concern.

So how much disk space can you reclaim by running Vsp1cln.exe? Most users are reporting just under a gigabyte of recovered space, depending upon which version of Vista is installed. Your mileage may vary. And if you still need a better understanding of how your disk space is being consumed, well then you need FolderSizes.

Posted: March 31, 2008 5:54 pm

FolderSizes and Duplicate File Detective – Updated

Key Metric Software has released updates to both FolderSizes (v4.5.1.0) and Duplicate File Detective (v2.2.0.0). Here are the download links:

Download FolderSizes v4.5.1.0 (release notes)
Download Duplicate File Detective v2.2.0.0 (release notes)

The new Duplicate File Detective release is larger in scope, and contains a considerable number of feature enhancements. If you haven’t tried this powerful, dedicated duplicate file management tool – please do so soon.

Both releases are free upgrades to anyone who owns a license for the same major version number of the product.

Posted: March 25, 2008 4:25 pm

FolderSizes, Mapped Drives, and Windows Vista

We’ve received a few reports from users that are unable to see one or more mapped drives from within FolderSizes when running it on Windows Vista. Unfortunately, this issue is the result of a Vista security design decision and impacts a broad range of software applications (not just FolderSizes).

The root problem is that (by default) Vista creates two user security tokens when you log in – the first being a default “filtered” (or non-admin) token and the second having administrative capabilities. Usually, you gain access to the latter (admin token) only after being prompted by a User Account Control (UAC) consent dialog.

FolderSizes contains an application manifest that causes it to run with the highest permissions available to the user, which on Windows Vista means you’ll be prompted (by UAC) to allow the process to “elevate” itself and run within the context of your full admin token. This is important when using FolderSizes because it helps to ensure full access to the various storage resources that the software analyzes.

So why does any of this impact the visibility of mapped drives within FolderSizes? Because under Vista when you map a network share it is linked to the current logon session for the current process token. This means you won’t have access to the mapped drive from your alternate, admin token (which FolderSizes runs under by default).

One solution is to run Windows Explorer “as administrator” (which you can do with a right-click of the Windows Explorer shortcut) and duplicate your mapped drives from there. They will then be visible to any process that elevates itself during execution.

Another option is to use UNC paths whenever possible. If you find that you can’t access a mapped drive in Vista (because you created the mapping with a restricted account token), you might consider just entering the UNC path (e.g. \\server\share) into the Path box near the top of the main FolderSizes window.

Yet another option is to make a registry change that will allow Vista to share network connections between your filtered access token and your full administrator token. From MS Knowledge Base article 937624, you can do this as follows:

  1. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
  2. Locate and then right-click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
  3. Point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  4. Type EnableLinkedConnections, and then press ENTER.
  5. Right-click EnableLinkedConnections, and then click Modify.
  6. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  7. Exit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.

Of course, the usual warnings apply – don’t edit your Windows registry unless you know what you’re doing (and preferably have a backup handy just in case something goes wrong).

Posted: March 12, 2008 6:24 pm

Finding recently saved (modified) files

FolderSizes makes it easy to find files that have been recently saved (modified). In fact, there are a number of ways of accomplishing this task with FolderSizes, but in this case we’ll start with the File Dates report.

The File Dates report is one of the many views generated automatically by the FolderSizes File Reporting interface. Just click the File Reports toolbar button in the main window, give it one or more paths (the system is capable of reporting against multiple paths at once, if desired) and let it churn for a minute or two.

When report generation is complete, select the File Dates node from the report listing on the left. You’ll be presented with the distribution of files by age. These are broken down into a set of default ranges (e.g. “1 Day”, “2 to 7 Days”, etc.), which can be customized to suit your needs (via the built-in range editor window).

You may also notice a file report node just below “File Dates Detail” called “File Dates By Size“, which presents the same information in (bar) graph form. This view allows you to quickly visualize where the bulk of the files reside within the file age time line (i.e. 38GB of files were modified within the last 3-6 months).

Alright, so now we know the distribution of files by date range. So how do we go about finding the specific files saved, say, within the last day? Simple – just double-click on the appropriate entry within the File Age detail listing. FolderSizes will automatically launch its internal search facility, and provide detailed information about the files within the specified date range.

Of course, you can always skip the file report generation step and use the search facility directly to find recently saved files.

BTW, the same search drill-down capability is available from all of the grouped file reports available within FolderSizes.

Posted: February 7, 2008 2:43 pm

FolderSizes v4.5 is Released

FolderSizes v4.5 is now officially out of beta, and has been released to the general public.

I’m extremely excited about this new release. It contains a wealth of new capabilities, including (but not limited to) Unicode support, command line access to the search facility, improved file system object sorting, numerous search system improvements (including better support for finding folders – including empty ones, a more granular file mask exclusion mechanism, etc.), numerous user interface improvements, and a variety of performance enhancements.

We’ve also decided to drop support for Win9x based systems (including Windows 98 and ME). At this point, the limited use of FolderSizes on these platforms is simply no longer worth the extra development and testing time required to support them.

Download the new release from our product download page. Full release notes are available here. The upgrade is free for all existing v4 license holders. And if you’re still using an older version, this is another great reason to upgrade.

BTW, those of you who know me are probably aware of how seriously I take the usability and appearance of our software products. Aside from core features, this new release of FolderSizes has a broad array of user interface enhancements, a new application icon, updates to the help file, and even new graphics in the product installer. Let me know what you think!

Posted: January 30, 2008 7:18 pm