I'm aware of relevant previous questions, but I'm seeing the opposite difference. When inspecting a net share, on a windows server, I see a folder with 'Size' ~10x larger than 'Size on disk':

enter image description here

What might be causing it?

Edit: The folder isn't compressed, the files aren't sparse (by random sampling), and the folder has low probability of duplicates - so symlinks/hardlinks cannot explain a 10x size factor. All in all, the answers here seem to not apply.

  • the folder and/or its files may be compressed or stored sparsely. Press the Advanced button and check the compression
    – phuclv
    May 30, 2019 at 5:35
  • Possible duplicate of Size is larger than "size on disk" NTFS
    – phuclv
    May 30, 2019 at 5:35
  • @phuclv the folder is not compressed, AFAICS neither are any of the files. May 30, 2019 at 5:39
  • but there can be sparse files or symlinks/hardlinks
    – phuclv
    May 30, 2019 at 5:42
  • Checking a few samples with fsutil sparse queryflag it seems the files are not sparse. This is a large folder with low probability of duplicates, and even if there are some sym/hard links scattered, I see no way that it can explain a 10x factor. May 30, 2019 at 5:48

1 Answer 1


If the files are on an NTFS partition then there are various reasons for them to have smaller size on disk: Resident files, reparse points, compressed files, hard/soft links, sparse files...

If the files are not sparse and not compressed then it's highly possible that a lot of them are very small which will make them stay resident in the MFT entries of the NTFS partition, therefore they'll be reported as having a size on disk of 0

However your files look like being stored on a shared folder from the network, so size on disk measurement may not be reliable, because the client doesn't know how a folder is stored on the server. See

  • Maybe I missed something? Both links show the more common situation of 'Size on disk' > 'Size'. Neither explains the statement that a shared folder displayed size is unreliable. May 30, 2019 at 6:14
  • 1
    they're just examples to show that don't believe in size on disk for shared folders. You must check the real version on the server. The difference in size is based on my experience with shared folder sizes. But there's also a comment saying "Your NAS is misreporting the data. The information is invalid, ignore it". See also more examples in my edit
    – phuclv
    May 30, 2019 at 6:17

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