Ask Slashdot: How Many Files Are on Your Computer?

With some time on their hands, long-time Slashdot reader shanen began exploring the question: How many files does my Windows 10 computer have? But then they realized "It would also be interesting to compare the weirdness on other OSes..." Here are the two data points in front of me: (1) Using the right click on properties for all of the top-level folders on the drive (including the so-called hidden folders), it quickly determined that there are a few hundred thousand files in those folders (and a few hundred thousand subfolders). That's already ridiculous, but the expected par these days. The largest project I have on the machine only has about 3,000 files, and that one goes back many years... (My largest database only has about 5,000 records, but it's just a few files.) (2) However, I also decided to take a look with Microsoft's malicious software removal tool and got a completely different answer. For twisted grins, I had invoked the full scan. It's still running a day later and has already passed 10 million files. Really? The progress bar indicates about 80% finished? WTF? Obviously there is some kind of disagreement about the nature of "file" here. I could only think of one crazy explanation, but my router answered "No, the computer is not checking all of the files on the Internet." So I've already asked the specific question in three-letter form, but the broader question is about the explosive, perhaps even cancerous, "population growth" of files these days. Maybe we can all solve this mystery together. So use the comments to share your own answers and insights. How many files are on your computer?

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