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How many files can a windows folder contain?

This question is asked here but then the question text pollutes the question with issues of "rules of thumb"

So to be clear, this question is: How many files can a windows folder contain?

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Related:… – JYelton Mar 21 '11 at 17:37
up vote 30 down vote accepted


  • 512 Files Per Folder


  • 65,534 Files Per Folder
  • 512 Files for the root directory


  • 4,294,967,295 Files Per Folder

(from here)

EDIT: I removed some of the additional information because it was a resulting in down votes and not really necessary to answer the question. Thanks @Richard for the constructive feedback below.

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Really not sure about those numbers. FAT (all types) has always had a fairly small limit for root folders (with long file names using multiple limits), but non-root folders could keep growing (linear search means opening a file is going to get much slower with large numbers of files). – Richard Jul 31 '09 at 10:01
NTFS does have a file size limit. The NTFS format limits it to 2^64 bytes, but actual driver implementation limit is significantly less (2^48 bytes IIRC). – Richard Jul 31 '09 at 10:02
UPDATE: Correct data for NTFS: – Richard Jul 31 '09 at 10:05
UPDATE: Correct data for FAT: file/partition size: and folder entries: – Richard Jul 31 '09 at 10:08
Any info on if/how performance degrades once one has more than a few thousand files? – Thilo Sep 2 '09 at 2:26

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