Why does the copy dialog give me the incorrect total size of the files being copied?

Raymond Chen

Raymond

If you try to copy a bunch of files to a drive that doesn’t have enough available space, you get an error message like this:

1 Interrupted Action

There is not enough space on Removable Disk (D:). You need an additional 1.50 GB to copy these files.

▭ Removable Disk (D:)
Space free: 2.50 GB
Total size: 14.9 GB
Try again Cancel

“But wait,” you say. “I’m only copying 5GB of data. Why does it say Total size: 14.9 GB?”

This is a case of information being presented out of context and resulting in mass confusion.

Suppose you saw the information like this:

Computer
◢ Hard Disk Drives (1)  

 
▭ Windows (C:)
Space free: 31.5 GB
Total size: 118 GB
◢ Drives with Removable Storage (1)  

 
▭ Removable Disk (D:)
Space free: 2.50 GB
Total size: 14.9 GB

In this presentation, it is clear that Total size refers to the total size of the drive itself.

So the original dialog is not saying that the total size of data being copied is 14.49 GB. It’s trying to say that the total size of the removable disk is 14.9 GB.

Mind you, the presentation is very confusing since the information about the removable disk is presented without any introductory text. It’s just plopped there on the dialog without so much as a hello.

I’m not sure how I would fix this. Maybe reordering the text elements would help.

1 Interrupted Action

There is not enough space on Removable Disk (D:).

▭ Removable Disk (D:)
Space free: 2.50 GB
Total size: 14.9 GB

You need an additional 1.50 GB to copy these files.

Try again Cancel

However, the design of the dialog may not allow the information tile to be inserted into the middle of the paragraph. It might be restricted to a layout where you can have text, followed by an information tile, followed by buttons. In that case, maybe it could go

1 Interrupted Action

You need an additional 1.50 GB to copy these files. There is not enough space on Removable Disk (D:).

▭ Removable Disk (D:)
Space free: 2.50 GB
Total size: 14.9 GB
Try again Cancel

But like I said, I’m not sure about this.

Raymond Chen
Raymond Chen

Follow Raymond