I am using Windows 7 (64-bit) on an Intel Q6600 CPU with 4GB of RAM.

I have a folder with 2 million files, with an average file size of 10 KB.

Windows Explorer stops responding when I open the folder. How can I overcome this?

  • 17
    By not storing two million files in the same folder...
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 23, 2012 at 16:02
  • 4
    You know whats even worse.. trying to delete that folder.. good luck :(
    – Piotr Kula
    Jan 23, 2012 at 16:20
  • 2
    @Shinrai, as Roger notes in his answer, NTFS is fine, it's Explorer that has a lot of work to do when you open the folder.
    – dsolimano
    Jan 23, 2012 at 16:56
  • 1
    @dsolimano - That's why I left answering to folks more knowledgeable than myself. :)
    – Shinrai
    Jan 23, 2012 at 17:55
  • 2
    i ended up by starting over, and partitioning my folders into years and months subfolders. Mar 11, 2012 at 22:07

2 Answers 2


You can overcome it by using a more sensible structure for your files. While Explorer will support directories with millions of files, it isn't designed for this sort of scenario and performance will be slow.

For more info, see this TechNet article:


  • I like Raymond's explanation. I would be angry if Microsoft spent money testing Explorer on such a niche situation.
    – surfasb
    Jan 24, 2012 at 9:31
  • imho, official guidelines and/or system warnings would be more appropriate than a (non-)apologetic technet article. Jan 25, 2012 at 17:14
  • It just the filesytem restriction.. it was flawed since NTFS was made, then they tried fixing ti with indexing.. but is sitl rubbish, ZFS forward
    – Piotr Kula
    Jan 25, 2012 at 17:30
  • It's not a filesystem restriction - it's a display problem. NTFS can store an unlimited number of files per volume. The issue is that it's very difficult to build a UI that will display a directory of two million files - and why should MSFT worry about this? Who's going to page through so many files?
    – Roger
    Jan 26, 2012 at 19:20

Sorry, Windows cannot handle more than 80 thousand files in a folder, neatly and efficiently (On a Xeon 2.8Ghz server with 4GB RAM at least)

It starts to crash and burn near 60k.

At 200k it takes 2 days to enumerate the folder. We had this problem with badmail folder using Windows Exchange. The only way to overcome it is to make thousands of folders (that it can handle fine) with files inside those folders with more folders.

Otherwise you should seriously consider dumping that data into a SQL file, using SQLExpress which is free or MySQL which is also free. Write a small program to handle it and you will be good to go - that's what we did with our 200k files and now we have over 12 million emails sorted, with quick access.

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