Reporting last used files

October 6, 2008 (180)

in Reports

Updated information on this feature: This article is old. Now ShowSize does not show Unused Files report or Last Used column on Windows Vista/7 or later systems. It shows it on earlier systems like XP but only with a warning. In general, it is advisable not to depend on Last Used Date feature of Windows any more. This is explained in a later article ShowSize on Windows Vista.


I am looking for a Utility to report when files were last used on a Windows 2003 server. This is to allow me to determine what can be archived and the disk space required. Can ShowSize do that?

Yes, it can. Please scan one of your drives by using ShowSize. Then see the “Unused Files” report. The only problem is that some Windows versions can turn off the update of last access date of files. Windows Vista and later versions do that.

You can verify whether your Windows system does that by using ShowSize on a folder that you used recently. See what the report Unused Files shows in the “Used date” or “Not used days” columns for some known files. For a file reported to be used many days back, see its Explorer properties. This will update the last access date to today’s date (on properties) if the feature is not turned off on your Windows system. Then a refresh from ShowSize will also remove that file from the report.

Once you verify that Windows is recording the access date correctly, you can run ShowSize on other locations. But beware of locations shared with Vista computers. Those by default turn off this feature.

Note: In this case the user, who originally asked this question, did confirm that the feature to update the last access date was already ON on Windows 2003 and ShowSize worked perfectly on Windows 2003.

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