File Explorer shows wrong folder size

  1. Posts : 37
    Windows 10 Home

    File Explorer shows wrong folder size

    Recently I noticed that in File Explorer when I right click on a folder and click Properties, the folder size is sometimes shown much smaller than the correct size. For example, in File Explorer, Documents shows as 30 MB (repeat 30 MB), while in Tree Size Free the correct size of 24 GB (repeat 24 GB) shows. Within Documents I have about 75 sub-folders. The same issue occurs only in some of the folders at this level: apparently folders I frequently access have the same issue, while infrequently accessed folders show the correct size in File Explorer.

    ]Also, in File Explorer Properties, all folders (Documents, C:, D:, including all sub-folders) show a filled in box at Read-only; and I don't believe that was the case before, I certainly never set them as read only in the past. All files Properties, however, show a blank box at read only.

    Otherwise all folder and file operations seem to be working correctly; I can open, change name, and close all folders; and add, delete, or change all files within folders. So I guess all the folders indicated as Read-only are not actually Read-only.

    Perhaps this is a quirk I should just ignore; but I am concerned that this might indicate a bigger problem than is apparent, and it is awkward to have to open Tree Size every time I want to check a folder's size. If there is a relatively easy fix I would do it.

    Thinking back to recent things I have done that could possibly have caused this: I have done a system image of C: drive onto the D: drive, then realized I should instead turn on Windows automatic backup to do the same thing and did so, then downloaded Macrium Reflect to put a C: drive system image onto a CD. Apparently both system images also created restore points.

    Thanks for any help anyone can provide.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 34,903
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)

    So I guess all the folders indicated as Read-only are not actually Read-only.
    That's about correct. It seems to be relatively meaningless.

    And see

    Also, the read-only attribute, when set on a folder, doesn't make the folder read-only, it just tells explorer to process the desktop.ini file.
    Last edited by dalchina; 07 Sep 2019 at 01:02.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 297
    Windows 10 - Ver: 20H2 - Build: 19042.804
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 37
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter

    I agree with Dalchina that the Read-only aspect of my post is in itself meaningless; I only included it in case it cast light on the aspect of the folder size displaying incorrectly.

    I followed the link sbh7600 posted, and there followed the advice of Vince122112 to download and run TLPD. It returned about 17000 files, 95% of which are at :


    and 95% of those at:


    Note the folder name is "SoftwareDistribution", not "SoftwareDistribution.old" as Vince122112 posted.

    Is it safe to rename or delete the entire contents of "C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download" ?

    Even if I did that, there would still be about 400 other files to identify and delete or rename. I have attached the TLPD report, split into 2 parts to meet the maximum upload limits.

    Thanks for any help.
    File Explorer shows wrong folder size Attached Files
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 34,903
    Win 10 Pro (1903) (2nd PC is 21H2)

    Is it safe to rename or delete the entire contents of "C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download"
    Yes, it's part of this tutorial:
    Reset Windows Update in Windows 10

    (Note- zipping and uploading can be much more convenient)
      My Computers

  6. HeM
    Posts : 389
    Win 10 Pro x64 v.21Η2

    dalchina said:
    wvbirdman said:
    So I guess all the folders indicated as Read-only are not actually Read-only.
    That's about correct. It seems to be meaningless...
    Actually, there is no "Read-only" folder and it is not indicated as "Read-only". There's always a little black box, never checked or unchecked, which indicates that it is not applied to folders.

    It's not meaningless because with just one click, you can make all files(only) in one or multiple folders (+child ones) modifiable or not, while you can rename/delete them.

    I think, there's a confusion between "Read-only" and "Read" & "Write" permissions.
    Last edited by HeM; 07 Sep 2019 at 00:22.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 1,249
    Windows 10 Pro

    The Read Only attribute is decades old and dates back to MSDOS days. It is now largely obsolete and maintained for the sake of compatibility. And it is of some use. On folders it serves as a flag that the file manager should check for a desktop.ini file that has special instructions. On files it doesn't actually prevent modification. It merely serves as an advisory that the file should not be changed and is in no way enforceable. It is usually honored by Windows file manager and other similar programs but is easily ignored by any program. It is much like a "Stay off the grass" sign.

    The attribute is not related to file permissions which are enforced.
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 7,086
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit

    The TLPD tool is useful TLPD - Browse Files at

    I too find Treesize reports an accurate folder size whereas File Explorer does not - the link suggests this is bug due to the PC containing file names which are too long.

    Most of my long file names are in the folder C:\Windows\servicing\LCU\. I've no idea what this folder is for and whether the files can / should be deleted.
      My Computers

  9. Posts : 37
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter

    I think the issue is solved. The problem of File Explorer Properties showing greatly reduced folder size was present in my Documents folder and my two most used folders under Documents. Looking at the TLPD results I noticed that along with the 17,000 results from the folders "C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download" and "C:\Users\[me]\AppData", there were about 4 results from each of these two most used folders. I went to those files in the first folder and shortened the names to well below 255 characters. Then File Explorer Properties showed the correct folder size (that is to say the same size as Tree Size Free shows), but Documents folder size was still wrong. Then I went to the second of these two folders and carefully did the same fix. Now File Explorer Properties folder size is correct for this folder and is correct for Documents.

    Documents and both of these folders are present in my Quick access. Before this fix, I noticed that if I checked folder size in File Explorer, I got the wrong size whether I used the left pane under Quick access, or the right pane; but if I hovered over the folder in question in the right pane, the pop-up showed the correct size. I don't know if either of these are pertinent to the original problem.

    Strangely, the wrong folder size problem never appeared in the two folders for which TLPD returned 99% of it's results: "C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download" and "C:\Users\[me]\AppData". File Explorer Properties and Tree Size Free always agreed.

    So I guess that if you want your File Explorer Properties to work correctly, you must run TLPD occasionally and rename any long file names under Documents; or carefully avoid long names.

    Any suggestions on how to avoid this problem or an easier fix would be appreciated.

    Thanks for everybody's help.
      My Computer

  10. Posts : 4,224
    Windows 10

    Just FYI LCU stands for "Latest Cumulative Updates" and the path C:\Windows\servicing\LCU\ is part of the update servicing stack that Windows Update maintains on Windows 10 machines. Here's an interesting discussion from MS Answers:

    One more thing: if you're going to use TLPD, I strongly recommend opening and reading the resulting TLPD-log.txt file using Notepad++ or some other third-party text editor that handles large files well. I had a lot of trouble reading and sizing the view window for the file in Notepad, and I suspect other forum members may have a similar experience.

      My Computers


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