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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Free Up Space On OS 9/X Disks With OmniDiskSweeper
April 23rd, 2001

OmniDiskSweeper 1.0 ($15 Shareware)
The Omni Group

You may find that you are less concerned (or aware) of disk space shortages under OS X. This may be attributed to installing OS X on a brand new monster hard drive. This may also be attributed to the fact that, under OS X, the default Finder view doesn't show statistics you may be used to seeing under OS 9. These statistics include the number of items in a Finder window, but more relevant, the amount of space available on a drive. Sure, you can go to the View menu under OS X and select Show Status Bar, but this tends to clutter up the otherwise crisp appearance of the desktop.

OmniDiskSweeper will quickly scan all the documents on a drive, and show a list of how much space each folder or item occupies. This display is in the (hopefully familiar, if you've been using OS X) column view, sorted by amount of used space, from greatest to smallest. This can quickly identify big space hogs, especially invisible ones you never knew existed.

The program takes a few moments to scan the entire contents of your drive. On a G4/450 with 1.7 GB of used disk space, it took about 90 seconds to scan all the files. During the scan, you'll see the amount of content already scanned on the top of the window, and folders that are actively being scanned are shown in red in the file/folder display.

Track Down Those Space Hogs with Column View
(Click for a larger image)

Once the scan is complete, you'll see a list sorted by file or folder size. Click on an item, and you'll either drill down in the directory structure, if the item is a folder or disk, or be shown specific file info, if it is a file. Just like the OS X column view, if you click on an item, it will be moved to the left of the column view, and a new set of goodies will be shown on the right.

A nice touch is that if a selected file or folder is part of one or more packages, you'll be shown which package(s) the file or folder belongs to at the bottom of the main window. This can be helpful when you are deciding on if you should trash an item. You should be very careful with items that are part of packages, such as Essentials or MinimumSystem, since they may be essential to proper system operation.

There is a Delete icon, where you can delete items from within the OmniDiskSweeper application. You'll need to pay the small shareware fee to use this icon. Otherwise, you can still double-click on an item, which spawns a new Finder window, where you can manually Trash the item. But wouldn't it be better to improve your karma and pay the shareware fee?

Take control of your disk space, or lack thereof, and add OmniDiskSweeper to your suite of Gadgets today.

Have any other Mac Gadgets that help free up your life? Let John know via e-mail, so he can review it.

Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.

John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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