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When I double click on My Computer, I can immediately see the Total size and Free space for internal and external HDDs, and inserted CD/DVD media, but in the same columns I cannot see these values for any USB flash drives. They are just empty. To see, I have to right click on USB drive letter, and select Properties.

Is there a trick to make Windows XP display USB drive's Total size and Free space in My Computer window?

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Is it in FAT32? –  r0ca Mar 3 '10 at 13:47
    
Yes, Flash Drive is FAT32 whereas HDD is NTFS. –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 3 '10 at 13:49
    
I'M pretty sure that if you format it in NTFS, you will see the information of that USB drive. Can you try it out? –  r0ca Mar 3 '10 at 13:50
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@Mehper: I suppose it's the behavior of XP not to show free space and total size on Removable Disk. Maybe because at the time XP was released, removable drives were slow and it would take a lot of time to parse them to calculate the used space. Even more on FAT where this info is not stored in the metadata but has to be calculated each time. I think it's stored in the metadata for NTFS. And the speed of removable devices has improved too. –  Snark Mar 3 '10 at 14:21
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FYI, even when formatted as NTFS, XP still does not show the size and free space (nor does Windows 7). Also, in order to format a USB drive as NTFS, it has to set have its hardware setting at "Optimize for performance". To do this, Right-click on the drive and select Properties. Click on the Hardware tab. Find your USB drive in the list, click on it, then click the Properties button. On the Policies tab, select the "Optimize for performance" option. Click OK. Wait a few seconds for the drive to remount. Now you will be able to format the drive as NTFS or FAT32. –  raven Mar 3 '10 at 16:57

3 Answers 3

This is done for performance reasons. Windows XP knows nothing about the nature of a removeable disk. In some cases the media may be removed or changed and Windows will know nothing about it. This is the case with Floppy drives. It is all up to the device and it's drivers. Since the media can be changed at any time Windows can not determine the total and free space without actually reading the disk. With some devices this can take some time. This could produce a delay of several seconds (or more) every time you opened Windows explorer. To avoid these possible delays Microsoft decided not to show this information for removeable drives. In most cases there will be no work around. If one exists it would be in the properties for the device shown in Device Manager.

Source see post 4

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Ok, I give a, I wish, accepted answer...

Regarding the previous comments on the question, we assume that Windows XP can't give the requested information in Mehper's question.

Snark: I suppose it's the behavior of XP not to show free space and total size on Removable Disk. Maybe because at the time XP was released, removable drives were slow and it would take a lot of time to parse them to calculate the used space. Even more on FAT where this info is not stored in the metadata but has to be calculated each time. I think it's stored in the metadata for NTFS. And the speed of removable devices has improved too.

r0ca: It's weird. I have Windows 7 as you have and I am able to format my 4go and 16go in NTFS. In that case, I'm 99% sure that have it format in NTFS would fix the issue. But if you can't afford due to Xbox, I understand ;)

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Since Snark said "I didn't find yet literature to back my suppositions", I won't accept this as an answer. Even if he found ground for his judgment, it would be unrighteousness to accept the answer as your name is written under the answer, not his. –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 3 '10 at 15:46
    
There is a graphic here listing differences between NTFS and all FAT file system. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_systems#Metadata . I can't tell which one of these is used to display information unfortunately –  r0ca Mar 3 '10 at 16:07

Is there a trick to make Windows XP display USB drive's Total size and Free space in My Computer window?

I'm not sure of any tricks to get the size to show up on those columns, but if you want to be able to see the total sizes of the disk from My Computer, a possible workaround would be to append (or prepend, depending on your preference) the size to the name of the device.

For example, a disk named 'Work' could be renamed to 'Work(8Gb)', 'Work8G' or even '8G Work'

this won't show free space remaining, but at least lets you know how big a drive is when you use it again.

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