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Troubleshooting the Finder: Incorrectly reported folder sizes

Troubleshooting the Finder: Incorrectly reported folder sizes

On Tuesday we covered an issue where the Panther Finder does not accurately update folder sizes when subfolders are modified. This bug occurs whether viewing the folder size in a Finder window (with "Calculate all sizes" enabled for that folder view) or viewing the Info window for that folder (via the Finder's Get Info command).

We noted several "solutions" provided by readers for viewing the actual size of the folder after making changes, including logging out and then back in, unmounting and then remounting a volume, and repairing disk permissions using Disk Utility. Unfortunately, none of these solutions are trivial, and in fact all are quite inconvenient.

We continue to receive both confirmations of this bug, and examples of how it can impact workflow. MacFixIt reader Matthew Cole writes:

"As my business is producing DVDs, folder size is important; it helps me calculate the the size of media and menus to put on DVDs. Several times I have had to re-compress movies to fit on a DVD because the folder in the Finder's Get Info [window] listed the incorrect size, and continued to list the incorrect size even after changing the content of the folder."

Unfortunately, the problem also seems to occur when an application other than the Finder changes the contents of a folder. Reader George Schreyer notes:

"Often, when a directory is updated outside the Finder, by iMovie for example, even the direct parent directory is not updated. The [reported] directory size can differ greatly from the sum of the contents.

Also in Jaguar? We've received a number of reports from Jaguar users that this bug isn't limited to Panther, but also appears in OS X 10.2.x. For example, Matthew Cole's report, noted above, is based on OS X 10.2.8.

Other solutions Readers continue to suggest additional workarounds for this bug. Peter Kaitlyn notes that a bit of folder-shifting can help:

"Create an empty folder at the same level and move the contents of the unresponsive folder to the new one. The new folder will be update to the correct value. Move the contents back and the new value will be correct at the old folder."

However, Peter also notes that this workaround is only temporary: "the values of the parent folder will update for a short while, but after three or four changes in the subfolders the update stops and holds at the last value no mater what changes are made to that subfolders."

Martin Pace manually changes the contents of the parent folder to get its size: "My work around is to duplicate a file (Command-d) and then delete the duplicate. This causes the folder size to update (but not the parent folder). Emptying the trash updates the volume size."

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