Windows 10: Can you organise folders by their size in Win 10?

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  1.    29 Jul 2015 #1

    Can you organise folders by their size in Win 10?


    Windows 7 doesn't let you organise folders according to their size. I was hoping that maybe 10 does? Or maybe there's some complicated reason why it can't ever be done?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    29 Jul 2015 #2

    Short version: it doesn't work that way, not without without performance hit. It's not like a box that you can plop on a scale to see how much it and it's contents weighs. There are a few third-party programs, I've used SpaceSniffer.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    29 Jul 2015 #3

    But Windows seems to keep track of the total use of space on the entire drive (which it displays for each drive in My Computer). Also, if I click on a folder and select properties, Windows adds up the contents and displays it before your eyes (before promptly forgetting it the moment you close that properties window).
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    29 Jul 2015 #4

    It still has to take the time to calculate the size of every folder, which can take a very long time for nested folders. Hving a folder size sort would be a major performance hit which would lock up many systems.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    29 Jul 2015 #5

    Calculating the space used on the drive is a simple matter. Calculating the space used by an individual folder is not. You see the drive knows how big it is, it keeps a map of all the bits that are occupied with data counting all these bits is trivial.

    However, a folder is an abstraction within the file system, the file system does not keep records of folder sizes because the act alone would be a performance hit. Instead to calculate the size the system MUST traverse down the file tree adding file sizes to one another. (Skipping those it cannot see and doesn't have permission to see.) This takes time which is WHY it is not done unless you ask. (You ask when you open Folder Properties or hold your mouse over it.)
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    29 Jul 2015 #6

    logicearth said: View Post
    Calculating the space used on the drive is a simple matter. Calculating the space used by an individual folder is not. You see the drive knows how big it is, it keeps a map of all the bits that are occupied with data counting all these bits is trivial.

    However, a folder is an abstraction within the file system, the file system does not keep records of folder sizes because the act alone would be a performance hit. Instead to calculate the size the system MUST traverse down the file tree adding file sizes to one another. (Skipping those it cannot see and doesn't have permission to see.) This takes time which is WHY it is not done unless you ask. (You ask when you open Folder Properties or hold your mouse over it.)
    But surely that's only a problem if it deletes the data and has to recalculate it again every time I wish to see the size of folders. If it's smart and does the calculations in the background before they're needed, this need not be an issue.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    29 Jul 2015 #7

    It's still not able to account for hidden files and folders. Or changes.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    29 Jul 2015 #8

    The calculation of space consumed by a folder is very complex and can consume considerable resources. Doing this on a network drive could consume considerable bandwidth, in some cases seriously impacting performance. For a variety of reasons retaining the calculations would not be practical. And the results are at best only an approximation. This is a lot more complex than it appears.

    The implications of all this are well known to corporate IT managers. They would have serious issues with a feature with so many problems and of relatively little value.

    If an individual wishes there are third party utilities that have this feature. But building it into Windows itself would cause too many problems.

    Again, this if far more complex than it appears.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    09 Oct 2015 #9

    I've noticed that when I use the web interface of my Box (cloud storage service) account, it immediately gives the size of each and every folder I hover the mouse over. I suspect that the software might not be Windows-based.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    09 Oct 2015 #10

    It's not the same - it is only telling you what it has already calculated as a "tip". OneDrive does the same - it will tell me the size of a folder immediately on the web interface but if I want to upload 5GB it will take me a day and a half as it seems to cap uploads at 3GB per day. During this time it has plenty of time to add it up.

    On my SSD though I can move files around at about 480mbs and the system doesn't bother looking at the total size until I ask it as otherwise the whole system would grind to a halt.

    Even I have 20k .txt files (they are source files for programs) and are on average 100kb in size. If I move them all from one place to another and you want to see immediately how big they are (about 1GB uncompressed as .txt, 32MB as a zip or on OneDrive) it takes time even on SSD. It is a waste of resources to add it all up - all the time. Better to calculate it when required - just in time.

    @LMiller7 already explained it above quite well I think.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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