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Windows 7: Why no folder size in Win7?


06 Dec 2009   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
Why no folder size in Win7?

Yes, this is an old issue but I wanted to summarize a few points, and open it for further discussion:

(1) Optionally displaying size of all folders has been a top-requested feature for years

(2) Windows 7 Explorer does not have this, although hovering the mouse pointer over the folder will show individual folder size.

(3) The Mac Finder displays folder size, although it's not enabled by default.

(4) In XP, Windows add-on tools like FolderSize and TreeSize Pro would add a column to Windows Explorer showing folder size. Unfortunately the underlying API IColumnProvider was removed starting with Vista, so these tools don't work in either Vista or Windows 7.

There are various arguments why Explorer can't display folder size, such as it would burden a network drive, it would be too slow, wouldn't handle junctions correctly, etc.

These arguments break down because it has already been done: the feature has already been implemented on both Mac and Windows 3rd party tools. We can see ourselves how well or poorly it works. In general it works pretty well on local drives on contemporary hardware.

Re network drives, it's easy to programmatically discriminate between network and local drives. One solution is only enable folder sizes for local drives. As on the Mac, another solution is don't enable it by default. Many users won't turn it on, so this lessens the impact.

There are more sophisticated future solutions possible to optimize folder size query of a network server. E.g, the server maintains folder size info and reports it to the client, but these aren't needed as a 1st step. The lack of these don't preclude folder size working on local drives today. Proof of this is Mac and 3rd party XP tools work fine on local drives right now.

With this in mind and considering Microsoft spent 6 billion dollars on Vista and several billion more on Windows 7, why wasn't folder size a basic feature of the Windows 7 explorer?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Dec 2009   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by joema View Post
With this in mind and considering Microsoft spent 6 billion dollars on Vista and several billion more on Windows 7, why wasn't folder size a basic feature of the Windows 7 explorer?
Because a constant need to know folder size, is an edge case. The priority to need to work on it, was nil. But why is there a constant need to know folder size?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2009   #3

Windows 7 RTM
 
 

There is no need for it!
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06 Dec 2009   #4

7 Pro64 Hopefully
 
 

Yes I agree mouseover/properties is good enough. Why complain about adding a new feature when an existing and useful one has been eliminated? On XP show status bar would tell you the free space from any local folder on any local drive. I always found free space at a glace quite useful, but I guess m$ did not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2009   #5

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Offsprung View Post
On XP show status bar would tell you the free space from any local folder on any local drive. I always found free space at a glace quite useful, but I guess m$ did not.
And why do you need that? Is losing HDD space such a constant threat?

You can see why polling for the folder size is a bad idea just by hoving over for the tooltip. I've seen seconds go by before the tooltip is even able to appear. Now if you had that for every time you clicked on a folder...not good.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2009   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64
 
 

Truly, I don't miss it.

And like everyone else said, if I really want to know the folder size, I'll just hover my mouse over the folder.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2009   #7

7 Pro64 Hopefully
 
 

If you are constantly moving data around and want to see if it fits, yes free space is useful, just start the move and keep fingers crossed it will fit?
So far replacing Windows Explorer with Windows Opener is less than satisfying.
The new mac like tree is a bit odd. Push the triangle (i/o plus sign) and the tree automatically moves to hide the branch you just opened? Why? And they always close up to top level branch in tree, why? Breadcrumbs? Great, still why hide tree branches?
And this auto refresh is very irritating, I miss newly added files being all at bottom waiting for me to rename or whatever instead of hiding in with the hundreds of existing files. And same with a dialog box, new folder before its given its real name sorts to N while you are still naming it and once you do name it it bounces up the list before you have a chance to enter the folder.
Not deal breakers, but quite a nuisance for people who used Explorer as much as I do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2009   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

[QUOTE=logicearth;427216]
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Offsprung View Post
...I've seen seconds go by before the tooltip is even able to appear. Now if you had that for every time you clicked on a folder...not good.
I don't think that delay is solely due to getting the space data. There's a built-in tooltip delay even for data that's instantly available. E.g, try it on non-running icons in the task bar.

Anybody who has run FolderSize or TreeSize on XP can see it adds little delay under many conditions. On contemporary hardware and a local drive, it's pretty fast.

Nonetheless if performance is the main concern, it could be handled the same way MS handled it for Windows 7 indexing: advise against indexing an entire drive but allow it if the user prefers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2009   #9

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by joema View Post
I don't think that delay is solely due to getting the space data. There's a built-in tooltip delay even for data that's instantly available. E.g, try it on non-running icons in the task bar.
I am well aware of that. However, I have my tooltip delay low and compared to other tooltips that do not get file size information, they are instant. When I hover over a folder I can see my HDD activity light go solid for several seconds before the tooltip actually displays.

Quote:
Nonetheless if performance is the main concern, it could be handled the same way MS handled it for Windows 7 indexing: advise against indexing an entire drive but allow it if the user prefers.
Better yet. Use a third-party solution which would be more inclined to keep it updated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2009   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
Better yet. Use a third-party solution which would be more inclined to keep it updated.
If you mean third-party solution for folder size, starting with Vista MS broke third-party tools which add Explorer columns. Rather than deprecate the IColumnProvider interface and provide an equivalent alternative for a transition period, they *removed* the IColumnProvider interface.

The supposed alternative is the Property Handler interface, but that's apparently not usable for folders, just files. The space data can be obtained, but there's no way to write it in an Explorer column.

So if anyone wants to know why third party shell extensions which display folder size don't work anymore, that's why.

The only good news is *standalone* third party folder size utilities still work. However they require running a separate utility.

On my admittedly fast PC, from a non-cached stated, the stand-alone TreeSize utility scans 520GB in 21 seconds -- that's every folder on the hard drive, 16,762 of them. Re-scanning from a cached state takes 3 seconds. Scanning only the subordinate folders lower in the tree is even faster.

Of course a Shell extension utility wouldn't typically scan all folders on a drive. Just scanning one screenful of subordinate folders from lower in the heirarchy is extremely fast. So I don't buy the "too slow" performance argument, at least on local drives. Anyone who doubts this can try the FolderSize or TreeSize Pro shell extensions under XP.

For those who want Vista or Windows 7 Explorer to display folder size like the above extensions did under XP, this apparently won't be possible -- at least using 3rd party shell extensions. MS can obviously enhance Explorer however they want, but so far have shown no inclination to provide this functionality. Your options are:

(a) Using a combination of Windows 7 Explorer plus a stand alone space management tool
(b) Dropping Explorer and using a third party file manager which displays folder size
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 Why no folder size in Win7?




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