What's the Largest Possible File Size - GoTechTalk


Saturday, October 3, 2020

What's the Largest Possible File Size

Nowadays the theoretical limit for a single NTFS file is over 18 exabytes, enough to hold 400 million of those 4k movies
By Sudarshan Yerunkar |  | Posted on 03rd October 2020 | deals.gotechtalk.com 
What's the Largest Possible File Size

What's the Largest Possible File Size

If you're one of our younger readers you may not remember a time before a 120 gigabyte hard drive was the bare minimum, but others of you may actually recall the days where 2 gigs was an extravagant luxury.

These days though it isn't uncommon to see multi terabyte drives in even mid-range computers due to the exploding file sizes from ever more elaborate PC games and 4k movies, i mean a single 2hrs 4k film on blu-ray can take up around 45 gigabytes of space, which got us thinking exactly how big could one single file get, is there a hard limit, is it bound only by the capacity of your storage medium, I mean could you theoretically sit there and watch every movie TV show and cat video ever made packed into one mp4 file provided you had a hard drive large enough?.

W ell as it turns out the answer is little complicated, there is actually a crucial limiting factor to file sizes, simply put a file system is the scheme that your Hard Drive, SSD or Memory Card uses to organise and keep track of your files and one thing that most modern file systems do is keep records of how large each file is, so that the user can manage his or her disk space and so the computer can keep track of how much space is being used in different physical parts of the drive these size values are stored as either a 32-bit or a 64-bit value, so older operating systems like Windows 98 often used 30 two-bit file systems, fat32 was the most common on home pcs in the late 90s and actually still persists in some applications today, but unfortunately the highest value you can express in 32 bits is a little over 4.2 billion meaning that the file size limit on many desktop computers used to be 4.2 gigabytes which is less than a full single layer DVD, so that clearly wouldn't cut it these days.

But ever since Windows XP Microsoft has switched over its home operating systems to the NTFS file system which supports 64-bit file sizes, something that would have caused slowdowns due to file system overhead on older pcs, so nowadays the theoretical limit for a single NTFS file is over 18 exabytes, enough to hold 400 million of those 4k movies that I mentioned earlier, anyway as with many other theoretical maximums the real-life limit is actually smaller, modern operating systems impose additional limits on file sizes with Windows 10 cutting you off at 17.5 terabytes I mean that is still larger enough, but years from now we may have to rethink file systems yet again if they figure out a way for us to dump our consciousness onto a 100 exabytes of storage.

If this helped you learn something new please let me know into the comments and share this to your friends.

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