How to show folder size in Windows

By , last updated August 5, 2016

You are wondering why is it easy to see a file size in Windows explorer, but not the folder size? The short answer is – resources. In order for the explorer to show a directory size it needs to process all files in all sub folders and calculate the space that all the files take in a directory. The calculation is resource draining and time consuming. The feature was available in Windows before XP, but was then removed as it made explorer slow to work with.

Still, what to do if you need to see how much space each of your folders take?

Downloading third party software is the easiest solution. Many companies compete for your attention in this area of software applications. You can choose between free and paid software.

Free software

Many people use free software to see directory statistics. These programs are not very complex, so if your only need is to see how much space a folder takes then you can try one of the following:
WinDirStat – simple, free and Open Source tool.
Folder Size Explorer – shows stats in a similar to Windows Explorer way.
Tree Size – popular tool that offers both free and paid versions.

Sometimes you need a better functionality than that offered by free tools. A paid solution can also be more secure, as they won’t have to sell information about you to earn money.

Directory Report – easy to use Windows explorer-like tool that lets you see folder sizes, duplicate content, remove and move the files – all in one tool.
Tree Size Pro – support in addition to free version Windows Servers and automated scan.

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An important note is that the program should be trustworthy. Do not download the first and “best” freeware you can find. The application will have a direct access to ALL your files, so proceed with caution. If you are not sure whether you can download and run the program – check it with a free online scanner like VirusTotal.

Run a script

You can see folder sizes by writing your own scripts:

  • PowerShell script – a step by step guide to creating and running a PowerShell script.
  • Command prompt.
    Open command prompt window by clicking Start then write “cmd”.

    cd \
    dir /l/s > files.txt

    This will create files.txt which will contain the size of every file in the directory and all subdirectories. It’s good for searching for certain files. You can also take that txt file and put it into Excel, and then sort it, find duplicates and so on.

Program yourself

If you are a programmer, you can make easily write a simple program yourself! It is fun, but time also consuming. Take a look at a simple tutorial on how to make your own C#.NET folder explorer application in Visual Studio.


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