GrandPerspective review

We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could see the contents of my hard drive represented as a colour-coded grid?” See, we know our readers so well.

And we can meet your needs too – because that’s exactly what file-access tool GrandPerspective does. The result is curiously similar to looking at computer-generated fractals – but made from the data on your Mac.

First, a detour. There were very few things we liked about MS DOS, Microsoft’s command-line operating system. We did like the original Defragmenter though. And what we liked about it was that you could analyse a drive, and see how and where your files were distributed throughout it. GrandPerspective is like the visualisation component of that tool.

Your Mac is smarter than the average PC, though, defragmenting on the fly and optimising your drive after every significant update – so GrandPerspective needs to offer something different to that. And it does.

Not only can you see your drives and files represented in glorious, psychedelic colour, but you can also select individual blocks. You can zoom into files and see their names and paths. You can open them up in Finder, directly from within GrandPerspective.

The colour scheme, which by default is a garish collection of Autumn hues dubbed ‘Coffee Bean’, can be customised to your taste. It comes with more than a dozen colour sets, though, so you’ll probably be happy with one of those.


Reading a description like this doesn’t do the tool justice, really – you have to try it out. It’s free, so that’s no hardship. Whether you simply find it amusing or can squeeze some general usefulness from the tool will depend on whether you’re a hardcore techie or a casual computer user.

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