I have an internal HDD which contains a directory, which contains a series of folders, which contain a total of about about 10 million small text files. Whenever I open this directory in Windows Explorer, the hard drive goes absolutely nuts and sounds like it's having a heart attack.
Resource Monitor shows that it's due to a roughly 11.5 MB/sec access to the drive's NTFS Master File Table (see below screenshot):
Indexing has been disabled for this directory, and all its subdirectories, as it is known that drive indexing and large numbers of small files are a volatile combination. Likewise, the directory only contains a couple folders (each of which house a large number of files), so none of the files in question are ever being displayed onscreen.
As such, I am a bit baffled as to why this intense reading occurs. It slows down any other processes which are working with the HDD to a near-standstill whenever it happens, so I have recently started navigating the drive and its contents via Command Prompt/PowerShell, which, for whatever reason, does not seem to trigger the NTFS reading-frenzy.
I'm not really a tech person, and so I don't know the details of how Windows 7 accesses drives to display files and folders, so I have a couple questions:
Why is the NTFS Master File Table being accessed, even though none of the files in question ever appear on screen, and none of them are ever being opened?
Is it absolutely necessary?
If not, is there a way to disable it? If so, what negative consequences would result?
Is there a more efficient (in terms of reducing disk wear and unnecessary file table access) way to set up a directory whose sole purpose is to house a large number of files?
Additional info: The drive is healthy (no S.M.A.R.T errors, and CrystalDiskInfo says there have been no problems), and is not a boot drive.