I have been asked many questions frequently, and I haven't been good
about answering them, I've answered them in one shot. This way everyone
can benefit from the answers, and maybe I won't get so many emails
asking the same things. I'm also
getting a lot of emails just saying thanks with some kind words, and
that's always appreciated, so keep that up. Also thanks to everyone who
has donated with PayPal! Thanks to everyone who has recommended
Folder Size. The project now sees about 1000 downloads a
day - that's one new user every 1.5 minutes!
So, here are some
answers to questions that have been asked. Not necessarily frequently,
but they were all asked at least once. Actually most of these aren't
actually questions; they're frequently heard comments or suggestions.
this section should really be called "Response to Feedback". But
everyone calls it a FAQ anyway.
Q: Folder Size doesn't work on my substituted drive (subst m: c:\stuff).
This is the kind of bug I'd like to fix. The goal of folder size is to
show you all folder sizes, all the time! And it probably wouldn't be
too difficult to fix. This has been added to the Known Issues.
BSB Answer: If you look at size in Windows, it is displayed as KB, so
most users should shut up. It's good on you to give peeps a solution.
Q: You should show sizes in MB, GB, TB, etc. for larger folders.
A: This option exists, and is accessible from the Folder Size Control
I want to customize the formatting even more! I want to see different
units for different folders, get rid of the commas (I'm very particular
about my screen space), and customizable colours. And choose between
decimal and binary units.
A: Windows provides two ways to format a size, and they are
both available from the control panel. I don't want to start providing
more customization options, because then I'm sure someone will want a
whole configuration smorgasbord that let you choose every character
displayed with complex logic to select the format. And that's
really not the point of the program. I just wanted to fill in the
missing data from the regular Size column, not provide an Explorer
Actually, I would rather remove the option to display
the Compact view. I find it more difficult to read the sizes that way,
because the units are harder to tell apart visually. When all the sizes
are listed as KB, then the size of the number on the screen is bigger
for bigger folders, and smaller for smaller files. The number on the
screen becomes a visual representation of the conceptual number it's
representing. And you lose that with the Compact view. I'm guessing
that half the people who use it find the sizes harder to read that way,
but don't know it.
Anyway, Windows provides that function, some
people seem to like it, and it's already implemented, so there's no
reason to remove it. But if there were no other reason to have a
control panel, I would remove it.
Q: I have a great idea: Save the cache so when you restart the
computer, it doesn't have to scan the whole hard drive again!
Great idea, except - what if the files change while the service is not
running? During a system restart, any file could get rewritten, and the
only way the service can find if this happened is to scan the whole
drive again. Actually that's not true if you use the NTFS journalling
feature. The service could enable journalling on your NTFS volumes and
update itself with that instead of the standard file change
notifications. But that would be some work to write, and it would only
work with NTFS drives. So I spent more time getting the more common
case work right first. This would be a good feature for the future.
Q: Folder Size blocks operation of TravelSafe encryption software on
Kingston USB drives.
Don't use shitty encryption software. There should probably be an
option to disable Folder Size for selected drives, so that would solve
Q: I'm a really clever guy. Instead of making a
new column, how about you just sneak the folder sizes into the regular
A: That's the very first thing I tried to do when I
started this, but there is no documented way to change the built-in
Size column. I tried to force it in, and it just wasn't working. If you
have a clever way of doing this, please let me know.
Q: Why is your column called Folder
Size and not just Size?
A: Because it would be confusing to have two columns with the same name.
Q: Sorting doesn't work correctly!
That's because Windows doesn't provide a proper API for sorting. It
will only do a textual sort. So there are already secret hidden
characters in front of the number to "help" it sort correctly. But it
doesn't always work. Let's blame Microsoft.
Q: Why is FolderSizeSrv always working in the background even when I'm
not using the column?
It's not. When you view the Folder Size column for a particular folder,
the background scanner scans everything in that folder, and it stops
when it's done. So it might take a while to index your whole disk, but
that way it's ready next time you look at the column. And then it will
stop scanning, until you show the column again.
Q: But the scan takes so long! It's slowing down my system so I want to
It's not slowing it down that much. The service keeps an eye on the
average length of the queue of disk requests, and if it gets too long,
it stops scanning until it goes back down. So the scanner should wait
for other programs to finish using the disk when the system load gets
heavy. Actually, if you really want to stop it, just go to the Folder
Size Control Panel and pause the service. This will keep it running and
updating minimally, but disable the background scanner. An interesting
test would be to run disk benchmarks with and without the background
scanner running, and see what the measurable difference is.
Q: Hey, you make programs for Windows. You should make this other
program that I want.
A: This is the Folder Size for Windows project. Start your own.
Q: After doing a system test in msconfig, I started getting Windows
Installer prompts looking for the foldersize msi.
I'm guessing that one of the files or registry entries has been
modified by something else. This is what Windows Installer is for.
Download the msi from the SourceForge archives so it can fix itself.
Q: After installing Folder Size, I can't see the Folder Size column. I am using XP
A: I don't know. It's worked on every XP machine I've tried. If anyone
knows why this is happening, please let me know.
BSB Answer: Close any open windows and open them again. Then you can find Folder Size column and add it to your view.
Q: With removable media like USB keys, sometimes Windows doesn't let
you remove it safely.
The service closes its handle on the drive when Windows lets it know
that the drive is going to be removed, so this shouldn't happen. I've
tried to fix this problem, and it's better than it was. There
could be a way to improve that code, but I can't reproduce this problem
reliably. Let's blame Microsoft.
Q: The column shows the full logical size of NTFS sparse files, instead
of the disk space used by it.
Yes, this logical file size vs. disk space used problem also exists for
other situations, such as compressed or hidden files, disk space wasted
due to partially used clusters, files mapped to more than one location
using NTFS junction points. I should add an option to interpret these
cases differently. It should be an additional column, so you could even
compare both side-by-side.
Q: Can you add an option to disable scanning for user-selectable
No, I'm trying to keep the interface clean. What you're suggesting is
simply a work-around for another problem, a potential performance
problem. I'd rather fix the performance problem.
Q: I can't Run As the MSI file to install it from a limited user
There's probably a way to do this by doing Run As on msiexec and
passing the msi file. Or the MSI file could be wrapped in an exe that
simply executes it. But I rather like the bare-bones MSI installer, and
would consider this a problem with Windows Installer and the Windows
security implementation. Let's blame Microsoft.
BSB ANSWER: 2 solutions:
- Create a shortcut and use Run AS on that.
- Use Run AS on IE and then go to the folder in that IE window. You will
have admin rights in there.
- Don't be lazy, just login as an admin. It takes 2mins.
Q: I'm from some
website with lots of ads. We want to distribute your software to bring
people to our site, so please fill out our detailed form.
A: Fill it out yourself, you leech.
Q: When sorting by the Folder Size column, Explorer groups the folders
separately from the files instead of all together.
A: Yep, it sure does. I have no control over this!
Q: When the folder sizes are refreshing, I can't use the address bar
because it keeps losing the focus. Can you fix this?
I tried to disable refreshing the column while the focus is in the
address bar. But it's a bit of a hack so I wouldn't be surprised if it
didn't always work. If you're having this problem, let me know some
details about your system so maybe it can be fixed.
Q: <Email in a language that is not English>
A: I'm glad the translations are working for you.
Q: How do I display the column? Gee, I sure wish there were some
customization options. Where's the uninstaller?
A: RTFM on the website.
Q: I'm adding files to existing folders and the size isn't being
updated. How do I refresh it?
It should refresh automatically, so something isn't working. I've
noticed very rarely that a folder has the tilde, meaning it's not done
scanning, but the tilde doesn't go away, even when all the subfolders
are done scanning. So there's some kind of bug where the in-memory
structure gets into a bad state, but I don't know why. One idea I
have for future improvements is to log errors to the Error Log, which
may help track down things like this.
Q: Can you make some Vista-specific improvements?
A: Not a bad idea, but I'd rather work on improvements that will
benefit XP users. I'm not using Vista yet.
Q: It doesn't work with NTFS junction points. Why can't you follow
Since the scanning service descends your folder structure, it needs to
avoid cycles. I disabled junction points entirely because I don't have
cycle detection yet. Also because if all the junctions in your
subfolders were added up, the total folder sizes of much higher
directories would add up to more than the size of your disk, which
would be confusing. I need to break it into two columns, to follow two
different policies: logical size (follow links, expand compressed
files, use exact file size) vs. physical size (use the size of the link
itself, use size of files taken on disk, including full disk blocks).
Q: You should make the Show In Groups option in Explorer work better
with Folder Size.
A: There's no API to do so. Let's blame Microsoft.
Q: You should make Folder Size work better with the Tiles view in
Actually Explorer will show folder sizes in Tiles view if you are also
sorting by Folder Size. I have no control over this functionality.
Q: Folder Size is so great, I want to try your other programs. Do you
have any more?
A: Nothing as good.
Q: I'm having a problem with an old version of Folder Size.
A: Of course you are. Use the latest version.