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What's the max number of files that can be present in a directory on a NTFS volume? Same question for a directory for FAT32 volume?

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I seem to recall a hard limit for the root directory of both filesystems and a soft limit (disk size) for child directories. –  lexu Mar 12 '10 at 13:54
Ok I found one part of the answer. For FAT32: max number of files in a directory is 65,534 (The use of long file names can significantly reduce the number of available files and subfolders within a folder.) Does anyone know the answer for NTFS? –  Gaurav Mar 12 '10 at 14:03
According to MSDN (technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc781134(WS.10).aspx) there can be atleast 300k files in a folder. I suspect that on NTFS max files per folder is limited only by max files per NTFS vol. –  Gaurav Mar 12 '10 at 14:09

2 Answers 2

After a quick search on google I found these:


  • Maximum disk size: 2 terabytes
  • Maximum file size: 4 gigabytes
  • Maximum number of files on disk: 268,435,437
  • Maximum number of files in a single folder: 65,534


  • Maximum disk size: 256 terabytes
  • Maximum file size: 256 terabytes
  • Maximum number of files on disk: 4,294,967,295
  • Maximum number of files in a single folder: 4,294,967,295


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NTFS: There is no fixed limit. The maximum number of files is one upper limit. This limit is either 2^23-1 (according to many diver implementations) or 2^48 -1 (according to the MFT_REF structure). As you will have LARGE directories, you will see non-resident $BITMAP_ALLOCATION streams, a large INDEX stream. The index stream is essentially a B+ tree of file names.

FAT32: There is a difference between the root directory and sub-directories. The root has certain limitations.

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