Are there any guidelines for folder size in Windows 10?

Contributor ,
Oct 24, 2020

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This isn't something that's a problem, just a question about optimal setup...

When you're storing images in folders in Windows 10, regardless of what organization you use, you're going to have a bunch of images in folders.  Say you have a folder called "Birds".  You shoot a lot of birds and eventually your folder has 1000 images or 2000 or some number.  And it reaches some size - say 10 GB or 20 GB or whatever.

I know NTFS has some huge maximum for the number of files (4 billion or something), but I presume nobody is PUTTING 100,000 images in one folder, or are you?

Are there any guidelines for either Windows 10 or Lightroom Classic about an optimal, or reasonable maximum number of files or maximum folder size?

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Are there any guidelines for folder size in Windows 10?

Contributor ,
Oct 24, 2020

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This isn't something that's a problem, just a question about optimal setup...

When you're storing images in folders in Windows 10, regardless of what organization you use, you're going to have a bunch of images in folders.  Say you have a folder called "Birds".  You shoot a lot of birds and eventually your folder has 1000 images or 2000 or some number.  And it reaches some size - say 10 GB or 20 GB or whatever.

I know NTFS has some huge maximum for the number of files (4 billion or something), but I presume nobody is PUTTING 100,000 images in one folder, or are you?

Are there any guidelines for either Windows 10 or Lightroom Classic about an optimal, or reasonable maximum number of files or maximum folder size?

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Oct 24, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
Oct 25, 2020

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There is no limit, and no guidelines either ... but your operating system (and hence Lightroom Classic, which uses operating system calls) will slow down for some activities when you have huge numbers of files in a folder.

 

For photography, you might want a very simple folder structure, such as folders named by capture date (which is a Lightroom Classic default, and so takes no effort on your part). Problem solved.

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Oct 25, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 25, 2020

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The trick is to build a hierarchical folder tree. I have folders of 5 or 6 terabytes, containing many levels of nested folders within. A flat structure quickly becomes impossible.

 

Regardless of keywords and so on, I can usually locate any given file in my 15 TB archive in less than a minute.

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Oct 25, 2020 0
Contributor ,
Oct 25, 2020

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I've got a structure similar to what you're both talking about.  Single folder at the very top, into which a set of folders named by the ending date of the contained images go.  Those usually contain a thousand or so images, and these days, with the D850, the folders are usually around 30 GB each.  It's never been a problem that I can tell, but I figured it was worth asking just in case the answer was something I'm ignorant of like "at 1024 or 4096 or some number of files things will slow down" or "above 32 GB things will compost" or something equally unlikely.

So, are there people out there with 100,000 images (or more) in one huge folder that's in Lightroom?  Or everything from an entire year in one folder?  Or some other structure that results in a half million images being in extremely few folders?

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Oct 25, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
Oct 25, 2020

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"So, are there people out there with 100,000 images (or more) in one huge folder that's in Lightroom? Or everything from an entire year in one folder? Or some other structure that results in a half million images being in extremely few folders?"

 

I'm not aware of any such really huge folders. I wouldn't recommend this.

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Oct 25, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 25, 2020

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100 000 images in one folder sounds like a sui*ide project. Why would anyone do that?

 

For normal use cases, I don't think it matters much. There may be a theoretical limit, but it's probably a long way off. I have a couple of folders with up to 3000 images.

 

The biggest problem is that thumbnail generation can take some time, and for that reason you may want to limit the number. I've been thinking of splitting up those folders. But Bridge seems to struggle a bit more than Lightroom with that.

 

Other than thumbnail generation, nothing is noticeably slow here. In actual operation Lightroom handles it all with flying colors.

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Oct 25, 2020 0
Contributor ,
Oct 25, 2020

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Cool...  I'll just keep on the way I have been.  I read the DAM book ages ago and started using end dates for folder names, and about 1000 images or somewhere between 30 and 35GB per folder as my guide, and I've stayed with that ever since.  All my searches are by keyword or some other metadata so that's never been a problem.

As for the 100,000 images in a folder - I've never seen it, but if there was some SIGNIFICANT advantage to it...  Since there isn't I'll stay with what I've got.

 

Thanks for the info - sometimes it's just good to know you're NOT going to need to change anything!

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Oct 25, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 25, 2020

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It is the number of the files, not the size (bytes) of the files.

 

I am old enough to remember when 1000 files in a folder was a performance hit for Windows. That limit is long since gone. These days, I would recommend less than 4000 in a single folder (no supporting evidence for that belief). Subfolders are your friend.

 

You really do want your photo files and LR catalog NOT on your system C drive. If, you have the extra drives available, you want your OS and catalog and photos all on separate drives.

 

 

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Oct 25, 2020 0
Contributor ,
Oct 25, 2020

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Spindles, or the solid state equivalent, aren't the issue...  My O/S drive has that and applications.  Catalogs are on their own SSD.  Temp and cache are on their own partition.  Images are on a 4TB SSD in a removable carrier of it's own.  Everybody is in separate places. 

 

My laptop is ALL SSDs - it doesn't even had a drive slot for an HDD.  Three internal, and the 4TB from the desktop with the images go on it when I'm traveling.

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Oct 25, 2020 0