How can we search folders by size?

It's a simple question. We'd like to know which folders (not files) on our computer's hard drive consume more than ten gigabytes of disk space in total.

We organize our files into folders, after all, so it makes sense to find large folders so that we can move, delete, or archive them. For example, windows makes it easy to apply NTFS compression to folders in order to compress all the files they contain. So why work with individual files when you can work with entire directories?

Right! So how do we start?

How About Windows File Explorer?

Answering this question using the tools built into Windows is going to be very tedious indeed. Directories (folders) in Windows simply do not have an inherent size metric – if you right-click a folder in Windows File Explorer and view its properties, the size metrics that appear (there's a separate field for size on disk) are being calculated on the fly. While you wait. This process is slow, and must be repeated for every directory of interest.

Windows File Explorer

And that's just looking at the directory properties individually. If you try to search for objects over a certain size in Windows File Explorer, it simply doesn't find folders at all. Only files.

At this point you may be wondering – why doesn't Windows provide a built-in size metric for folders? That would sure make it easy to search for large folders! The answer largely comes down to performance. Windows would need to monitor file system activity constantly (essentially in real-time) to provide accurate directory sizing statistics on demand. The performance implications of doing so simply outweigh the benefits for most use cases.

Introducing FolderSizes

FolderSizes is a free disk space analyzer software product for Windows. It provides a highly specialized Search tool that is capable of querying folders by size, file count, and more.

FolderSizes makes this possible by quickly calculating the size of directories during search execution, ensuring that results are always current and accurate. It performs this task using the FolderSizes file system analysis engine, which is exceptionally fast and efficient.

The FolderSizes Search tool can also search multiple local and network file system branches simultaneously.

Searching for Folders by Size

To search for folders by size in FolderSizes, simply follow these steps:

  1. Start FolderSizes and click the Search button in the main window ribbon bar.
  2. Select the Search Paths tab in the Search window, then click the New Path button to add one or more search paths. Note that you can search multiple local and network paths at once.
  3. Select the Search Rules tab in the Search window. Click the New Rule button and select New Folder Rule.
  4. In the Folder Rule Editor window, select the Size tab and specify the size of folders you'd like to find.
  5. Click OK to save the rule, then click the Start toolbar button to start the search.
Find folders by size

When the search completes, you'll be presented with a list of folders that meet your search criteria. You can then take action on these folders as needed, such as moving, deleting, or archiving them.

Pro Tip: Toggle on the Use allocated size during comparison switch in the Folder Rule Editor if you prefer to search by size on disk (e.g. allocated size).


FolderSizes is the Swiss Army Knife of disk space analysis tools. The FolderSizes Search tool is just one of many features that make it a must-have tool for system administrators, IT professionals, and power users.

Start reaping the benefits of this powerful tool today!

Download FolderSizes


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