Do you know of any "free" storage analysis tools? Specifically, I'm looking for a tool that can look at all files on a server(s) and tell me the vital stats for each file. At a minimum I would like to know when a file was created, when it was last modified, when it was last accessed, the size of the file and optionally, the owner and location (path) of the file. I would think that this information is available from the file allocation table.
I want to use the tool to analyze file usage patterns on a server with the goal of deleting and/or archiving stale data. This would free up space for active applications and users, delay adding additional storage capacity and reduce backup time.
I don't know of anything that's both slick and free but let's not forget our old friend the DOS DIR command. If you type DIR/?, you will get a list of all the options. You can get all the information you listed from the DIR command. If you then pipe the output to a file, you can load that file into Microsoft Access or Excel and produce lists of files that meet whatever criteria you may be looking for. But that's a lot of work to undertake on a recurring basis. Archive software is available commercially to do what you want, automatically. It's not that expensive given that an hour of a network administrator's time is worth at least $100.
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This was first published in February 2002