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.

5 Answers 5


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.


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.

  • The common thing I've always heard (no evidence) is that for NTFS it's 10,000 before performance suffers.
    – kbyrd
    Jun 3, 2009 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, 2009 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, 2013 at 23:17
  • 1
    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. Oct 1, 2014 at 14:00
  • I know this is old, just wanted to add my anecdotal evidence. I watched windows begin to become unstable once a folder had ~40,000 files in a single directory. Opening the folder with explorer was impossible obviously everything had to be handled via CMD. What was most worrisome was files started going missing randomly. In other cases they were there and other times they weren't there. The lesson here is index your folders YYYY/MM - easy. Keeps things from going nutty. Nov 8, 2021 at 16:19

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


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


Files per volume 2^32-1

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