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Is there a way to configure nautilus so that the size all used the same unit, say kB or MB, rather than varying units? I find it hard to see, at a glance, the relative sizes of things when the units are changing all the time - especially when I have the view sorting on some other column.

Also, is it possible to have folders to list the recursive size contained inside, rather than just saying "5 items" or similar?

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What you want is impossible without modifying Nautilus sources (see update below)

However, there's an awesome tool included with Ubuntu which would help you to visualize relative sizes of files and folders. The program is called Baobab a.k.a. Disk Usage Analyzer and I believe it is installed by default:


Update: Out of curiosity, I downloaded Nautilus sources and spent a few minutes browsing around trying to see how it is formatting file sizes. Indeed, in nautilus-file.c there's a function:

static char *
nautilus_file_get_size_as_string (NautilusFile *file)
    if (nautilus_file_is_directory (file)) {
        return format_item_count_for_display (item_count, TRUE, TRUE);
    return g_format_size (file->details->size);

And if you check the documentation for g_format_size, it says

Sizes are rounded to the nearest size prefix (kB, MB, GB) and are displayed rounded to the nearest tenth.

So, as you can see, Nautilus is hard-coded to display items count for directories and file sizes rounded to the nearest prefix for files.

(as a side note - if you try Baobab, you'll see that scanning the full disk takes quite some time. This explains why it would be impractical to display cumulative directory sizes in Nautilus - this would slow down the whole thing quite a lot)

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