[xplorer˛] — Subfolder size
home » blog » 23 August 2009

"Only the first 100 years in life are hard, then you get used to it" — Unknown Greek wiseguy

Why would one want to continuously monitor the space occupied by some subfolder hierarchy? This is a question for a different type of human psyche specialist but the plain fact is that many people want to see a total size in the folder size column instead of a plain <folder> tag. For all the statistics enthusiasts xplorer˛ offers the menu command Tools > Subfolder size that calculates the total size taken by some folder's files and all its subfolders and displays it in the stock size column.

The effect of this <Ctrl+D> command is momentary, and applies to the browsed folder only. If you want xplorer˛ to calculate subfolder sizes automatically for all folders, then tick the relevant option in the Advanced page (see snapshot to the right) from Tools > Options menu command. Here are a few clarifications:
subfolder size in detailed view option for continuous folder size calculation

  • The subfolder sizes are calculated live and asynchronously in the background, and it will take some time before they are shown, so please be patient.
  • Selected folders are calculated first, so if you have a lot of subfolders first select the ones you are mainly interested in then press <Ctrl+D>
  • The option for automatic folder size calculation is a major resource hog, especially for deep and/or slow folder hierarchies. That's why xplorer˛ won't calculate folder sizes when you are browsing root (e.g. C:\) or network folders. If you want to see subfolder sizes in such cases press <Ctrl+D> twice and be prepared to wait a while.

xplorer˛ calculates subfolder sizes without any caching, which has performance repercussions. If you are using windows XP or older and are troubled by the time taken by xplorer˛ you can install a free shell extension called foldersize (get v2.5, not the latest version), which adds a new column in the detailed view (called Folder Size [X]) that shows folder sizes. You can select this column in xplorer˛ using View > Select columns menu command. This folderSize NSE runs always in the background monitoring folder sizes so its information column is very fast, if you don't mind the rather overengineered solution for such a simple task. The bad news is that foldersize won't work for windows vista (or win7) since microsoft have removed the API that underwrites generic column handlers for vista and seven.

Addendum: xplorer˛ version 1.8x and later supports traditional column handlers like foldersize even for windows vista+. Seeing is believing: here is a snapshot of foldersize running in windows vista 64 bit (inside xplorer˛ pro).

So for windows vista and later you are stuck with the choo-choo but trusty folder size calculation in xplorer˛. The professional version also supports detailed folder statistics breakdown, where you see in a tree control the exact size taken by each subfolder and its subfolders. You also see the number of files and folders for each level. All this information is available using Tools > Folder statistics menu command. The information can be exported as text for your records using the little menu in the folder data window, and can even be printed using an external program. The subfolders are sorted largest first, so you can find quickly the answer to the question where did my hard disk space go?
detailed tree folder statistics

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