Computer Guide

Where is my disk space going?

by George Skarbek - 9 October 2007

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Where is my disk space going?

Q: Do you know of any way I can get a list of the folders of a drive which shows the size of the folder?  I know I can right click on each folder and use properties to find out the information; but I would really like to see the list of folders showing the sizes, so that when I am doing a cleanup I can focus on the big ones first. I am sure that back in DOS there were utilities that did provide this list.

A: There were many DOS programs and I still have one that works, but there are Windows based ones that are even better. Try Treesize from that integrates into Windows Explorer. Another good free disk manager program is VisDir from


Changing the default printer

Q: When I installed a new printer I made it the default printer by mistake. As I only use the second printer occasionally I should have installed it as an additional printer. How do I change things and make my old printer to be the default printer and the other an additional printer?

This is easily done. Just right-click on the printer that you want to be the default and select Set as Default Printer


E-mailing photos

Q: I have recently purchased the latest Minolta SLR digital camera which takes fantastic photos of all sorts. I have been sharing my pictures via Kodak Easyshare software (free provided with my HP laptop when purchased 6 months ago), which is fine, However the size of the files can be 10 MB which is large, takes up lots of space and slow to be transmitted Do you have any suggestions re better programs or Winzip ??

A: There are several ways to reduce the size of photos without a noticeable loss in quality but using compression tools such a WinZip will not work. This is because picture formats such as JPG or TIF are efficiently compressed, and all WinZip can do is to reduce them further by about 3 percent. As many mailboxes have a 10 MB limit, even one large image will cause a mailbox to fill and all other mail to bounce. This will not make your recipient happy.

Your choice depends on what your recipients will ultimately want to do with the images. If they wish to just view them on the screen then by resizing the image you should be able to reduce the 10 MB file to less than 5% with no visible difference on the screen. If they wish to print postcard size prints then about a 90% reduction in size is possible. However, if they want to print A4 or larger size then a lesser reduction is image size will be required.

Obtaining the balance between image quality and image size takes some practice. By increasing the JPG compression the file size decreases rapidly without noticeable loss until a point where some loss is visible. Many image manipulation programs allow you to view the resultant image as you test to find where that point occurs.

One good starting point if you do not have suitable software is to download the small but excellent program, IrfanView, and when viewing your image press Ctrl + r or click on Image, Resize / Resample and assuming that your recipients will just look at the image on the screen, select 800 x 600 pixels and also in the DPI box enter 72.

When saving the image you must give it another name or you will overwrite your original file with this reduced image. IrfanView will warn you if you forget. Finally in the Save Quality select a value of between 75 and 80%. My guess is that your resultant image will be less than 2% of the original size but will look identical on the screen.

Picasa from  is another good free product to consider that will automatically resize images.


To look at the e-book in PDF format, Computer Guide, based on these columns click here