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Why does Explorer status bar ONCE AGAIN not show total size of files and free space?

    General discussion

  • With Windows 8, Windows Explorer's status bar has ONCE AGAIN taken a major step back and Microsoft critically needs to fix it. You see from Windows 95 to Windows XP - Explorer has had this very useful STATUS BAR that displayed very useful information.

    This is the status bar from Windows 7 with Classic Shell installed. (It can fix all of status bar issues on Windows 7/Vista).

    It shows:

    1.  Total number of items selected
    2.  At-a-glance free disk space on any volume at the current location
    3.  Total size of ALL files in a folder on the status bar without selecting them all (without requiring Ctrl+A)
    4.  Computer zone
    5.  Total size of selected files (not total size of all files, but selected files)
    6.  Tooltip information of single selected file

    Of these 6 features, #3 and #6 were removed in Windows Vista and size of a single file was mis-reported in Vista!! (Major bug). In Windows 7, #2, #4 and #5 were removed. Plus, another bug was introduced in Windows 7's status bar wherein it would not show any information sometimes unless the window was manually refreshed using F5. (The Vista size mis-reporting bug and Windows 7 refresh bug still exist in these versions of Windows even with the latest service packs applied).

    Classic Shell came to the rescue of users for both OSes and fixed ALL status bar issues - #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6 and all bugs.

    Now in Windows 8, the status bar control is no longer a standard status bar control but uses private controls (DirectUI crap). So Classic Shell is no longer able to fix these issues. Also, Windows 8 ONLY shows #1 and #5. It does not show:

    2. At-a-glance free disk space on any volume at the current location
    3. Total size of ALL files in a folder on the status bar without selecting them all (without req
    4. Computer zone
    6. Tooltip information of single selected file

    Even for #5, it only shows sizes up to 99 files. Select more than 100 files and the status bar stops showing the total size of selected files.

    Why is it that Microsoft continually makes changes to Explorer that make users' life more difficult, remove features and does not even allow third parties to fix Explorer problems by making use of private controls instead of standard Windows UI controls??

    It would be very re-assuring if someone from the shell team would take notice of this and fix the status bar by Windows 8 beta to show all of this useful information. The very least expectation is an option to turn this on even if Microsoft chooses by default to not any of the information #2, #3, #4 and #6 on the status bar.


    Monday, November 28, 2011 3:06 AM

All replies

  • performance, performance, performance. If folder opens 0.5 seconds faster, I don't care if the information I needed once per week is an extra click, Win+e or alter-enter away.

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    Monday, November 28, 2011 3:38 AM
  • Features, features, features and productivity, productivity, productivity. No one cares if the folder opens half a second slower but they certainly do if I have do a dozen more clicks and/or keystrokes for each file in Explorer. This obsession with hiding things in Explorer since Vista has STILL NOT GONE AWAY!!!

    How did Microsoft determine its users needed this information once per week? Telemetry once again? I need it all the time. I don't care about the folder opening 0.5 seconds faster. Performance at the cost of features is bad way IMHO to engineer a product. It is taking any control away from the user whose productivity reduces due to more keystrokes and more clicks to achieve the same task he did in Windows 95 without any clicks or keystrokes.

    I request the shell team to reinstate free disk space, total size without selection and tooltip info on the status bar. Make if off by default, just don't remove the choice entirely. Every time I need to see free disk space, I don't wish to go to My Computer, nor do I wish to do Ctrl-A just to simply view size of all files. I am so tired of this "we know better for you so we will by design limit options and remove existing ones" attitude.

    It's not even a question of doing Ctrl+A now to see the size as it doesn't show the size even if a single folder gets selected. I have to specifically exclude folders from the selection.

    I don't see myself upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 if this annoying flaw is not rectified and the status bar restored to full functionality.

    PLEASE RETURN IN THE BETA, THE STANDARD STATUS BAR CONTROL OR PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION FOR CUSTOMIZING THE DIRECT UI CONTROL ON MSDN!!!

    • Edited by xpclient Sunday, January 15, 2012 6:16 AM
    Monday, November 28, 2011 3:59 AM
  • Performance at the cost of features is bad way IMHO to engineer a product.


    You think Sheng Jiang is saying WE performance is good?   <eg>

     

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    Monday, November 28, 2011 12:13 PM
  • I have to agree that with each Windows upgrade that Windows Explorer becomes less useful and functional.  There was a time when the Status Bar actually was very useful.  Now it's just in the way.  The performance of Windows and Windows Explorer never used to be a problem in past Windows versions that had a useful Status Bar, so I don't know that this is progress if all of a sudden it has become a problem.  Sure wished you at least had the "option" to turn on displaying useful info in the Status Bar so I could run it at home on a stand alone computer and if at work on a network it became a problem, I'd just turn it off.
    Monday, November 28, 2011 4:08 PM
  • The IE9 status bar was uber-dumbed down (removal of security zone indicator, cookie blocked icon, page loading progress indicator), for similar reasons (at least that's what I was told when I asked some IE people). They want to squeeze the last bit of some magical performance gain at the cost of displaying useful information and increasing the number of steps users take to do their tasks. Or telemetry shows them 0.01% used it so they chose to remove it.

    It's getting more and more difficult to use software instead of it getting easier and more productive.

    Monday, November 28, 2011 4:26 PM
  • 1. Total number of items selected

    How useful is that to most people? I honestly can't think of a single real-world scenario in which the number of things selected is terribly important. What are the use cases for this? Although, that said, it appears to be back in the Windows 8 Explorer status bar anyway.

    2. At-a-glance free disk space on any volume at the current location

    Given that Windows 8 is introducing Storage Spaces, which provide dynamically expanding pools of storage across multiple physical disks, I'm not sure the amount of "free space" on a volume is necessarily an entirely trivial thing to calculate. Similar issues arise when a volume is part of a Hierarchical Storage Space, since volume space is a rather more complex case depending on the amount of tapes available (which may be an unknown quantity).

    Furthermore this was a constant source of frustration for users on networks where file quota's are enabled, since it would report the amount of total free space on the volume which doesn't necessarily equate to the amount of space an individual can use. Similarly you can get odd results when dealing with things like Roaming Profiles and Redirected Folders.

    3. Total size of ALL files in a folder on the status bar without selecting them all (without requiring Ctrl+A)
    5. Total size of selected files (not total size of all files, but selected files)

    This can be expensive information to obtain and is rarely the primary reason for opening a folder (or selecting files). It's not just about how quickly a folder opens but also the amount of network traffic generated, the additional workload on fileservers and all the other aspects that potentially go into doing work that is usually unnecessary. On a large network, the workload that goes into producing all this information can be extremely significant.

    4. Computer zone

    Well that's pretty much just a throwback to the days when IE and Explorer windows were interchangable. Once they were seperated (and with good reason), it no longer served much of a purpose. About the only use was that network drives were treated as Intranet Zone for .NET apps, but that too has since be changed since it just caused oddities. Nowadays you'd just have a static control displaying Computer zone, kinda pointless.

    6. Tooltip information of single selected file

    Again, I'd assume this was largely driven by the trade-off between the real cost of obtaining that information against how often it's what you're looking for. Given that you still have it available on the tooltip anyway, is it really a major loss?

    Monday, November 28, 2011 6:58 PM
  • #2. I'm not sure the amount of "free space" on a volume is necessarily an entirely trivial thing to calculate.

    #3. This can be expensive information to obtain and is rarely the primary reason for opening a folder (or selecting files). It's not just about how quickly a folder opens but also the amount of network traffic generated, the additional workload on fileservers and all the other aspects that potentially go into doing work that is usually unnecessary. On a large network, the workload that goes into producing all this information can be extremely significant.

    4. Computer zone

    Well that's pretty much just a throwback to the days when IE and Explorer windows were interchangable.

    6. Tooltip information of single selected file

    Again, I'd assume this was largely driven by the trade-off between the real cost of obtaining that information against how often it's what you're looking for. Given that you still have it available on the tooltip anyway, is it really a major loss?

    #2. The free disk space information is derived from the NTFS volume's free space bitmap. Each volume has one. It's absolutely trivial to show it. That is how My Computer shows it.

     

    #3. But how did prior versions survive while still including it and not causing any noticeable Explorer slowdowns which made Explorer unusable. Windows 95, Windows 98, NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 all had it. Networks were there back then too, even slower networks in fact. I remember I asked about this particular case (total size without selection) to Brandon Paddock, one of the shell developers on Windows 7 and he replied at the time that "they didn't think this piece of information was valuable to they removed it". But they're wrong. Its very valuable. Just open your %tmp% folder and you can see how much size all the files occupy. Or open the Recycle Bin and you can see the total size the deleted files in the Recycle Bin take. It is useful for any folder. In fact it's critical to have it and totally unacceptable to NOT have it after having it for more than a decade. It was a long-standing Windows feature that should be left in optional at least.

    Like I mentioned, it can be added on Windows 7 by Classic Shell and there is no significant slowdown or performance loss. What Microsoft has done here (unintentionally maybe) is they choose not to show it in their OS. Fair enough. But by making the status bar control private, they prevent third parties from showing this valuable bit of information. So now you have to select all files and deselect all the folders to see the total size of all files in a folder.

    Another thing to note is that the status bar itself can be entirely disabled so there is no question of SMB chattiness on network for those who are concerned. Just turn it off then.

     

    #4. Agreed. Zone information is not too valuable but not entirely useless either. It's not a particularly big loss. On SMB shares, it's useful to know if the files are being treated as in the local intranet or not.

     

    #6. Again it's about the speed of your workflow. A tooltip doesn't show instantly and you need to hover with your mouse precisely over each file one by one. Whereas using the keyboard and keeping an eye on the status bar, this same info can be viewed pretty quickly (three times fast). It was very useful to view metadata about the file. Suppose if have 50 files in a folder, most certainly selecting the topmost file then hitting the down arrow key and viewing the status bar is faster than hovering over all 50 of them one by one.

     

    Many of these status bar issues were raised by Windows 7 and Vista users too but instead of addressing them in Windows 8, MS is taking them away and also taking away the ability of third party apps to fix it. Some examples of users asking about the status bar:

    1. Explorer Status Bar Needs More Info in Win7
    2. File Explorer's Status Bar lost important size/space info from WinXP
    3. How Can I Enable File Features in Explorer Status Bar?
    4. Drive "free space" is missing in Windows Explorer, why?
    5. How to see free disk space in Explorer status bar?
    6. How do I make the status bar in Explorer work properly?
    7. Free space not displayed in Windows Explorer.
    8. Windows Explorer Status bar... missing file status information
    9. "Disk free space" indicator on status bar in Windows Explorer
    10. Free space in status bar not there in Explorer anymore
    11. In Windows XP Pro, there was folder size stated. Is that available in Vista?
    12. Please include Folder Size in Explorer's "Details Pane"

    It is clear users WANT this back and Microsoft thinks it knows what is best for them and continues to ignore feedback. #2, #3 and #6 should be put RIGHT BACK by the beta. Are you listening, Microsoft?

    • Edited by xpclient Tuesday, December 06, 2011 4:13 PM
    Monday, November 28, 2011 7:36 PM
  • #2. The free disk space information is derived from the NTFS volume's free space bitmap. Each volume has one. It's absolutely trivial to show it. That is how My Computer shows it.

    But that's only true for a simple NTFS volume, Explorer has to be able to show the information for more than just NTFS volumes. A dynamically expandable Storage Space doesn't have quite the same concept because the volume expands using free space from a storage pool that may be shared amongst multiple spaces. Similarly it's not necessarily a trivial task for storage volumes on a SAN or held in the cloud.

    And it's exceptionally confusing when dealing with file system quotas, users often report issues saving files when they can see "there is still Gigabytes of free space" because they've actually gone over-quota. Providing misleading figures is worse than not providing any figure at all.

    #3. But how did prior versions survive while still including it and not causing any noticeable Explorer slowdowns which made Explorer unusable.

    It's not about Explorer slowing down, it's the amount of network traffic that gets generated by browsing. This is a real-world problem on large networks and making computers less "chatty" can offer significant benefits in terms of throughput and equipment cost.

    Just "making it optional" doesn't really help, if it's not really critical information to the core workflow then the cost of testing, maintenance and support (both in and out of Microsoft) can heavily outweigh the benefits.

     

    Monday, November 28, 2011 8:30 PM
  • I still call xxxx. No amount of excuses or justification is convincing enough against the removal of this critically useful feature. I guess to each his own but if Microsoft is indeed interested in listening to feedback, they would put it right back. They can of course disable the reporting of free disk space on dynamic disks, yet keep it on a regular basic volumes. There are always ways to work around an issue but instead of fixing things, they are yanking features of the OS. They don't want to put the time or effort. I guess customers refusing to upgrade is not a good enough reason?


    Tuesday, November 29, 2011 6:27 AM
  • The problem could be resolved, perhaps, by implementing a toggle mechanism analogous to the 'Recent Programs / All Programs' "duality" of the Windows 7 Start menu. Define the Start menu single/dual thus:

    Single = Recent & Pinned Programs shortcuts (only), medium icons

    Dual = All Programs - shortcuts and folders, small icons

    Toggle = '> All Programs' / '< Back' link

     

    Now define the Explorer status bar single/dual thus:

    Single = Most Frequently accessed file & folder data

    Dual = All relevant file, folder and volume data

    Toggle = Entire status bar except text

     

    Users who want to see the extra data - that is, the dual - click on any free space of the status bar. Click again to revert to the default view - that is, the single. Although switching to the dual would not be a permanent setting - even for new Explorer windows in the same user session, the large "Fitts Law-Friendly" target area of the status bar would make switching modes very fast for most users.

     

    "They can of course disable the reporting of free disk space on dynamic disks, yet keep it on a regular basic volumes. There are always ways to work around an issue..."

    Of course. If it were true that reporting of free space for a Storage Space pool were problematical, this field could simply be "grayed-out", with the free space displayed with the string 'Storage Space' as a placeholder.

     

    • Edited by Drewfus Sunday, January 01, 2012 11:55 PM
    Tuesday, December 27, 2011 2:27 PM