One of the biggest complaints about Windows Vista (and 7) was that it removed the API that allows developers to create column-handlers, and as such, useful programs like Folder Size can no longer function.

It seems that a lot of people reported the “bug” and complained, but as yet, no update has been released to provide support for column-handling shell-extensions. I know it’s a long-shot, but has Microsoft finally listened to users and either restored the ability to add column-handlers so that Folder Size can function again, or at least added a built-in column to display folder (and sub-folder) sizes?

To be clear, I am not interested in general size of any individual folder (the Properties dialog works fine for that), the goal is to have visual access to all folders in a directory and be able to sort them by size.

  • It seems like this should go on Stackoverflow. – Josiah Oct 20 '12 at 18:06
  • Betting they have not and will do anything about this issue. Alternate file browser is the solution most will turn to. – Moab Oct 20 '12 at 18:37
  • @Ace, it is not about programming, just asking about whether Windows 8 supports shell-extensions with column-handlers and/or if it (finally) has a folder-size column. – Synetech Oct 20 '12 at 20:50
  • @Moab, unfortunately, I actually like Explorer. :-o I’ve tried various other shells and have never really liked them; they were either too cluttered, too limited, or flat out flaky/unstable. Explorer (at least so far) seems to strike the right balance—for the most part. Go figure. – Synetech Oct 20 '12 at 20:52
  • I just checked and it doesn't appear to be built in. Still. – nhinkle Oct 20 '12 at 21:06

This isn't a direct answer to the question, but possibly makes it slightly easier:


Be aware that it does take a while for large folders and gives estimates in some cases.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 1
    Size information in tooltips is available in all versions of Windows, but unfortunately, not only does it require manually maneuvering the cursor over each and every item separately and waiting a second or two for the tooltip delay, but it does not allow for sorting items which is pretty essential, otherwise you may as well just access the individual folder’s Properties dialog instead of bothering with tooltips. – Synetech Oct 22 '12 at 20:18
  • Yeah, it's not exactly an optimal solution, just thought I'd offer it up as no-one answered yet. – George Duckett Oct 22 '12 at 20:20
  • It’s not a matter of being optimal, unfortunately it’s not a solution at all. @nhinkle actually did provide an answer (as a comment) as to it (still) not being built-in. Nobody commented on whether shell-extensions work, but I would be quite surprised if the do. – Synetech Oct 22 '12 at 20:31

I added a reference to the syntech's answer, but he has ignored it. I propose the Folder Size freeware tool.

I like it better than what syntech has proposed, because this tool provides more accurate results, works faster and does not have such a cluttered interface. The latest version can list system and backup folders and reveal better disk usage report than Windows Explorer. While Windows Explorer reported 98GB used on my SSD this tool reported that actually 116 GB were used. Give it a try. enter image description here

  • I ignored nothing; your edit was reviewed and rejected by other users for being too minor. Your new post is better, but not actually an answer to the question that was asked. I did not ask “how can I see folder sizes in Windows 8”? That’s already a well documented question with many answers (including the one you suggested). The question I actually asked was whether Windows 8 had a built-in folder-size column or if it re-enabled the IColumnProvider interface that FolderSize used. I only mentioned the others as non-ideal workarounds. – Synetech Mar 26 '14 at 17:26
  • Also, Folder Size is a commercial product which may have led them to reject your edit—especially since you mentioned Mind Gems in 60% of your posts. (Plus, it doesn’t have a tree-map view like the others I mentioned.) Regardless, your reasoning for its use is welcome, though since it’s not actually an answer, it should be a comment, but you don’t have enough rep to post comments yet, so you—or someone else—will need to flag it to have a moderator convert it. For the record, the original FolderSize now includes a “kludgey” workaround to support Vista and up. – Synetech Mar 26 '14 at 17:41
  • Thank you for the clarification. To answer your question: There is no such information and better not be unless it is for a different file system. Why? Pretty simple. This information is not available in the file system and should be collected every time - it adds extra load to your storage. That is why I hated the shell extension that you proposed. 1. It makes my system veeery slow 2. It damages my drives by performing extra operations I prefer the solution that I provide as it add a "Scan with Folder Size" context menu inside Windows Explorer that I use whenever I need it. It is better. – Sarah Williams Mar 26 '14 at 21:17
  • Yes Folder Size has a PRO version, but most of the important features are available in the FREE version - listing all the file and folder sizes, largest files and folders reports etc. - the things you need for a good disk cleanup. – Sarah Williams Mar 26 '14 at 21:23
  • There is no such information Yes, sadly that is indeed the answer which I already said. This information is not available in the file system and should be collected every time Yes, that too is already well known. It adds extra load to your storage. Huh? That is why I hated the shell extension that you proposed. It makes my system veeery slow Then you shouldn’t have added the column to every folder/root directory. The column is not enabled by default, so it has ZERO impact until you actually enable it, and even then, it uses a cache to reduce impact. – Synetech Mar 26 '14 at 21:43

Well no; unfortunately Windows 8 Explorer neither has a folder-size column built-in, nor supports shell-extensions like Folder Size. Moreover, even shell-extensions like Space Dolphin’s Size (which shows a tree of the sizes of all sub-directories of a folder in a Properties dialog tab) don’t work, or rather remain not working as they were broken in Vista.

Unfortunately to see the sizes of subfolders, users will have to continue to use external, third-party tools like WinDirStat and SequoiaView which is just not the same thing because at the very least, they do not let you see the folder sizes right there in Explorer and sort them (technically, some do have a folder-list view which approximates Explorer, but that is still just a work-around and not the same as an actual shell-extension).

  • Sadly, even the Space Dolphin shell-extension that adds a tab to the Properties dialog to show the sizes of sub-directories does not work in Vista+ with no built-in alternative. ಠ╭╮ಠ – Synetech Feb 20 '13 at 2:01

I was going to answer by pointing out that while the original Folder Size did not work for some time in Vista and up, it now works by creating a separate window that does track folder sizes. So while it is not in a column inside the existing Explorer window, it does float next to it, and the separate window can be sorted by size.

However, I see that this is pointed out by @Synetech in one of his comments. I agree with him that it is "kludgey".

That said, in case others do not peruse the comments as closely as I did, I'll leave this as a possible answer, although it's not strictly speaking an actual "answer" to the original question. (Also, I can't post comments yet.)

Someone answered with the name of a third party app. I agree with @Synetech that this doesn't answer the question, which was whether Microsoft had relaxed its restriction on creating columns in explorer or if there was any software that managed to do so. (I also agree with @Synetech's comment that most of the answerer's posts across this site refer to the same software maker, so perhaps there is a bias or agenda here.)

That said, in the interests of fairness and because the third party app posted is a pay app, here are some free alternatives:


Editing further in 2020: Double Explorer, which is an open source Norton-Commander-like explorer, doesn't provide a column for directory sizes, but if you space bar to select, will quite quickly calculate its size. Very handy.

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