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Size of folders on hard disk

Windows 7:

I've noticed that my main hard disk (partition) is starting to get low on space.  If I open windows explorer I can see the files and folders and if I select a folder from the properties I can view the space taken up on disc.
By doing this I have found that my windows folder has about 23GB of space and the system folders that I can't view take up about 12GB (all folders I can get the sze of taken from the total size of the disc gives...)

This seems rather excessive to me.

Two questions.
Is there a setting to allow me to view the size of a folder directly in windows explorer ?
Is there a setting to allow me to explore the system folders such as system volume information ?
4 Solutions
A few notes...

1) The size noted for the Windows folder is inaccurate. Mainly, junctioned folders such as those in the Windows Side-By-Side Assemblies (Winsxs) are counted towards the total size using that method, although they are just pointers to other files (which are also counted). This usually leads to quite a bit of GB extra (for me it's around 10GB) than what is actually being used since it is counting those files many multiple times.

2) You can see the System Volume Information folder by overwriting the ACL to give administrators access to it (only SYSTEM has access to it by default). However, the most effective way ofchecking space used in that folder is by going to System Properties int he Control Panel, then look at the System Protection tab. Then click "Configure" after choosing your drive. From there you can see how much space is being used by System Restore and VSS shadows, clear all existing restore points, etc.

3) I'm not sure what you mean by "Is there a setting to allow me to view the size of a folder directly in windows explorer ?". You can view hidden folders by choosing Tools -> Folder Options... -> View -> Show hidden files, folders, and drives. Other than that, the method you are using to view the folder size should be fine (barring the junctioned folders likes those noted in item #1). there are some other tools out there to collect folder, drive, and file stats as well.
Brian GeeCommented:
^ In addition to segment #3 above, you can also unhide system files from Folder Options by unchecking Hide operating system files (Recommended) to see other files and folders as well.
Another factor is the allocation unit (cluster) size...

File space on disk is in cluster units which is a function of the hard drive physical size... The larger the physical disk, the larger the cluster size.

For example, if you happen to be using a 16K cluster size, you might have as much as 16K EXTRA for each file on your hard drive if they miss the border and require an extra cluster for as few as 1 extra byte! For smallish files, this is also a minimum file size, even if the file a single byte it will "consume" a full cluster of file space on the drive.
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AndyAinscowAuthor Commented:
Thanks to both.

Folder size.

A crude example of a detail view in explorer

Name           size
file1              25KB
file2             173KB
file3               4KB

Hence:  Is there a setting to allow me to view the size of a folder directly in windows explorer ?
AndyAinscowAuthor Commented:
I've had a look at system protection from system properties/control panel.

Setting - System protection is deactivated, current usage 0 bytes.
AndyAinscowAuthor Commented:
@n2fc - good point but I suspect not too relevant.  I'm trying to find where many GB's have gone to.
i think you are looking for tree size of similer which shows you the folder size quickly.
Treesize is such apps (Freeware)

for WinxP and 2k3 there is a plugin which shows the folder size in explorer itself like file size..unfortunately it does not work with vista or wndows 7.

There is no native way to have Windows show you the size of a folder in explorer view. It wouldn't be practical because it would be very slow. To calculate the size of a folder, it has to enumerate the files and folders within it, then sum their sizes. For small folders, it's not a big deal, but for larger folders (such as many of those under the root of a drive) that would be incredibly slow. NTFS (nor FAT) does not store the size of a folder and all it's children - it's a calculated field. The way around this is a 3rd party product/plugin that tracks folder usage (or recalculates when idle), although I am not aware of any that do this. If you are trying to see where the space has gone, I would just do a search for all files then sort by size - the largest files usually take up the majority of the space on the drive (although not always - sometimes it's a bunch of really small files).
TechnoChatWintel Administrator / Cloud ComputingCommented:
Try OverDisk from following location.


AndyAinscowAuthor Commented:
I've not tested OverDisk as the website said it was alpha version.

I agree that recursive searching of folders to calcualate their size is a slow process BUT the properties window of a folder from explorer will do so on an individual basis.  In other words the code to do it already exists in explorer, odd it isn't possible to activate it as an option for all folders rather than going through a lot of hoops to get that info.

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