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Is there a maximum limit on the number of items that can be stored in a folder on Windows Server 2008?

We have a requirement to handle the ftp of hundreds of thousands of items to a folder and process the items in the folder. I've heard rumours that it is 5000 items. Anyone want to back this up with evidence? My google fu is failing me.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

See This link at Microsoft.

It suggests that there is no limit to the number of files in a given folder as long as the number of files on any given volume is not greater than 4,294,967,295 (on NTFS) the link gives much lower limits for FAT32.

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Although this isn't an answer to your question, keep in mind that with many file systems performance will start to degrade if a directory has more than X files. In ext3 I think it around 30,000.

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The common thing I've always heard (no evidence) is that for NTFS it's 10,000 before performance suffers. –  kbyrd Jun 3 '09 at 13:10
    
I've had the 10,000 performance NTFS blues. We had some servers that had between 5,000-25,000 files and if you got to the 10,000 or more it was really slow. Under 10,000 it was fine. –  Hondalex Jun 3 '09 at 19:10
    
The main culprit here is 8.3 file creation. If you disable it on the volume where the directory resides, you'll get massive improvements, about 100x for ~1M files. –  Chuu Jan 25 '13 at 23:17
    
In production we have a folder with a couple million files. Don't even try to use Windows Explorer, it never returns. We wrote our own tools to find filenames by naming pattern in order to manipulate the results. –  Robert Kerr Oct 1 at 14:00

I don't think there is a limit "per folder.". It should be the same as the absolute limit of files per NTFS volume: 2^32 - 1. It would require 512 byte sectors and a maximum file size limit of one file per sector.

Realistically you have to calculate a realistic average file size and then apply these principles to that file size. So, I wouldn't be preoccupied, I have seen folder with much more that 5000 files. But if you want to open such a folder in Windows Explorer, you could have to wait for minutes. Consider using command line tools for accessing that folder.

Here is an interesting link on Technet: How NTFS Works

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Ok, so you type faster than I do :) Here's the page I was going to post. technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc938937.aspx –  squillman Jun 3 '09 at 13:13

NTFS: 4,294,967,295 (Wikipedia Entry)

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Files per volume 2^32-1

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