How to show folder sizes in Windows

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Some things seem so obvious. But, just about every week (if not every day) some new “research study” comes out with an end result that any reasonable person with half a brain could have come up with. And we the taxpayers are often paying for these ridiculous things! Some important “findings” include “students who do their homework get higher grades” (study), “pigs do love mud” (study), “weight gain is caused by overeating” (study), and “reading is good for your brain” (study). Well, here’s something┬áthat I think is obvious: Windows Explorer should display folder size by default. But it doesn’t.

Windows Explorer


Here’s what I’m talking about. On your Windows computer, click the Start button (the MS orb in the lower left) and choose the Documents folder. For this example, I’m assuming you have some sub-folders inside the Documents folder. Mine looks like the image below (yours may display slightly different if you choose to display Large Icons, Small Icons, etc. I choose to display in the “Details” format).


Windows Explorer


How am I supposed to know how much data is in each of those folders? Microsoft goes to all the trouble to have that column there titled “Size” and then for any of the folders, it is just left blank – no information! This just does not make any sense. But that’s how it has always been, and Microsoft probably doesn’t have any plans to display that info, regardless of how OBVIOUS it is that it should be shown there.

As is often the case, someone recognized this need and created a solution. The fix is a little program called Folder Size Explorer. It’s free, and you can get it at

Folder Size Explorer


Folder Size Explorer runs on any recent version of Windows (although I only have it installed on my Windows 7 machine). Just go to the website and click the “Download” tab and you’ll see the link to download the file in .zip format. You can extract the files from the zipped folder and run Setup, and you’ll see that the installation is pretty routine.

Once it’s installed, you should see an icon for it on your desktop, and it’s also in your “All Programs” list in the Start menu. Just click to run it, and see what the difference is when you’re looking at your Documents folder (or any folder). Here’s what information is displayed:

Folder Size Explorer


As you can see, for each folder, it shows the total size of the data in that folder. In addition to that, it tells you how many individual files are in that folder, as well as how many subfolders are there. It’s beautifully simple. I really don’t know why Microsoft can’t figure out how to do this in Windows by default.

And that’s it! No fancy bells or whistles, it just does what it’s supposed to do. You probably also noticed on the Download page there’s a link to Donate. The software is free, but I always like to give some money to the developer when I find a program like this that does a great job and doesn’t try to sneak a bunch of other junk into your computer.

listen to my podcast in iTunes

Share this post