Images, videos, music, documents and applications all take up valuable space on your hard drive. If you run out of space or just want to free some up for other files you will want to delete older folders and files that you no longer need. However finding these files that are no longer wanted can sometimes be a bit of a pain and may take up a substantial amount of time. DaisyDisk can help out by providing a visual representation of your hard disk space, the larger the file, the larger the section will be displayed in DaisyDisk. This can prove a vital piece of kit when trying to rid your Mac of unwanted media and can save you a lot of time whilst doing so.
DaisyDisk comprises of two separate windows. The first lets you view available hard drives to scan and the second displays an overall view of the folders and files on the hard drive when it has been scanned. Although both of these windows have a dark metallic look to them, DaisyDisk brightens everything up by using different colors for every single file, folder and hard drive. The bright colors used stand out brilliantly over the dark background making it very easy to distinguish between the different areas on your Mac's hard drive.
Scanning a Disk
Upon loading the application, DaisyDisk will present you with a window showing all the disks it has found that it is able to scan. This can be everything from a USB drive connected to your Mac to a Dropbox folder stored on the web. In this review we will be scanning the internal hard drive of a Mac. When you have chosen the disk which you wish to scan simply click "Scan" and it will begin to pick through the brains of your hard drive. A neat feature included with DaisyDisk is that the icon in the dock transforms into a progress bar as well as displaying the scanning progress in the DaisyDisk window. This is very helpful if you have a larger drive to scan as you can easily use other applications whilst keeping an eye on the progress. Another great feature of DaisyDisk is its compatibility with Growl, this allows you to be notified when the scan is compete by placing a small notification bubble in the corner of your screen. Growl also works with lots of other Mac Applications, if you don't have it, I recommend checking it out at some point. The scanning speed is surprisingly quick. It scanned over 260GB of folders and files within 4 and a half minutes.
Navigating Your Files & Folders
Once your disk has been scanned, DaisyDisk will present the files in a large ring, mimicking a physical representation of the disk. Each different colored section shows a different folder making it easy to see which folders are taking up the most space. You can drill down through your folders to find other folders and files which you may want to delete. When hovering your cursor over the icon you can view the folder or file name (and its path), as well as a ranked list of the largest files in that folder. As you move between folders the "daisy disk" will morph into the contents of the new folder by zooming into the selected folder then re-drawing the contents forming a new "flower" drawing. To go up a level in the folder hierarchy, simply click the centre circle displaying the current space used by the folder you are viewing. Another easy way of moving through the folders is to use the breadcrumb trail which sits at the top of the window along with the back and forward navigation tools much like those found in Finder.
Deleting Unwanted Media
Once you have found the folder or files you want to delete, you can first preview them to make sure that it is the correct file. To do this hover over the item and press the space bar. Once the file or folder you wish to delete has been found, it is time to delete it. You can just drag it to the area at the bottom of the window which says "Drag and drop files here to collect them". Dragging multiples files or folder here will "collect" them, allowing you to delete them all with just one click later.
DaisyDisk is a great new take on several more dated applications which do a similar thing, such as Grand Perspective and Disk Inventory. It has a much improved look having gotten rid of the horrible gradients that the older applications and made way for a sleeker new interface. The new way of browsing though folders does in all honesty take a bit of getting used to, but much like the reversed scrolling in Lion, you will soon get used to it. The application is normally priced at $19.99 which is a little on the pricey side, which is why I have chosen to post this review during a period when DaisyDisk is 50% off. At only $9.99 I feel that this price represents the capabilities of the application a lot better. Do you use an application to help you clean up your disk drive? If you do, tell us what you use in the comments, and if you don't, then take a good look at DaisyDisk. It even has a fully functional free trial for you to play around with before you buy.