/ Why are there 63,000 items in the root folder?

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stp - on 12 Sep 2012
My son's Win 7 laptop was running slow so I had a look at it.

Checking the root folder revealed more than 63,000 items!!! Holy Moly!! All small files and folders. The partition is only 100gb and there's still plenty of free space.

Not sure how that happened, I'm guessing a virus of some sort although not sure what the point would be, just a prank? He also has Avast which is usually pretty good.

Anyone heard or seen of anything like this before? Any suggestions apart from the obvious delete and virus scan the system?
stp - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to stp:

Well I just booted it from a Linux CD and from there all of the rogue files appear to have gone. WTF? How weird is that?
lazzaw - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to stp: He's not done one of those tricks that only a child can do such as setting an internet browser to save all temp files to the root folder has he?
EeeByGum - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to stp: Temporary files used by some form of something or other running on his PC. Lots of files are not the reason his PC will be running slowly.
Steve John B - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to stp: Probably just the CIA, I wouldn't worry about it ;-)
ajsteele - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to stp:

From Linux you won't see the Windows root folder so they will appear to have gone. What do you mean by root folder anyway? The C:/ drive is the root folder on most windows machines and 63000 files isn't a lot at all, infact even in the C:/Windows folder on my machine there is 87000 files so with all folders added together in the C:/ drive there would be a lot more.
stp - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to ajsteele:

Yeah by Windows I just meant that was the OS. Just meant the direct contents of c: . On my machine there are a mere 9 items (maybe a few hidden). All of those on his machine appear to have gone now though so the Linux view was right.

Did two virus scans (one boot time). The only thing found was a bit of adware. The only thing I can think of was maybe it was the result of a search perhaps, maybe *.* or something similar that shows up most of the contents of the machine? I guess that would slow down the machine significantly too.
maria85 - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to stp:
I'm a total retard when it comes to computers, so could you tell me how to check this?
My laptop is fine, but I have a netbook that runs on Windows 7, it's only about a year old and it runs so horrendously slowly that I don't even bother using it anymore. And yes, I'm aware it's a netbook and not meant for really running programs, but I'm using it mainly for internet, with just the occasional basic photo edit (crops etc), don't have many programs installed on there.
The Lemming - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to maria85:

Have you considered installing and running:


two tools that should speed yout computer up. And yes Ccleaner is spelt that way.
Dominion - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to stp:

There's a vast difference between "free space" and the number of files a root directory can hold

Back in the day, you only used to be able to store something like 512 files in the "root" folder of a Hard Disk, but if you moved the files into a sub-directory, it was 65,336 files per folder, and 512 folders

(Or something similar, I really can't be bothered to confirm that)

But the result was that you can completely "fill" a disk without filling it, as you fill the number of directory entries for individual files,
rather than in used space.

That's a lot less common now, with modern file systems, but there are still problems with enumerating (and sorting) the files in folders, and especially in the root folder, as they are now generally indexed and sorted - and with Windows, probably a database is generated with thumbnails of all images that are in there, too,

Which could take a very long time, and will thrash the disk,

People expect files to have icons (thumbnail images) of what the file is now. It's shite, and caters for idiots who have not learned to name their files sensibly -


- or rely on progammes to do that for them, as they cannot be bothered to pay any attention to details...


(Sorry, IT rant, just been trying to renew my Car insurance online, but I can't because it's too close to the point my current insurance expires (5 days in the future) and they are too shite to realise that they've just lost my business as a result of me having to explain that to them by phone)

did you do a

ls -al

in the root folder, by the way

pawelx - on 13 Sep 2012
In reply to EeeByGum: well lots of files can lead to bad fragmentation of hard drive, which would slow any I/O operations down.
I would maybe try running defragmenter?
stp - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to maria85:

Another thing that can typically slow a PC down is simple lack of disk space. I think there should be something like a minimum of 10% free space on your operating system disk (or partition) and preferably more.

If all else fails if you have copy of Win 7 reinstalling the whole thing never fails. If there's not many other programs then it won't take you long, especially if you're doing it from a USB stick. Just make sure there's no data you need as you'll lose it all.

Or even switch to Linux. Many versions can be run from USB stick or CD. The generally work really well. They're nice and fast with no AV programs to slow them down.
lazzaw - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to maria85:

My general maintainence for a slow computer would be
1) CCleaner and search for malware as already advised
2) Defragment your hard drive (my favourite is MyDefrag which is much better thatn the Windows one)
3) Stop unnecessary programs running on your computer - as your computer boots up loads of stuff such as office, Adobe acrobat etc load up at the same time. You don't need them running in the background as your computer may be running 20 programs when all you want to do is check your email. To stop them click on Start then type msconfig into the search box. Click the 'selective start up' tickbox instead of 'normal start up'. Then click the 'Startup' tab. Unclick all the boxes that you don't think you need (don't disable stuff with 'system' in it or your antivirus stuff. Click OK at the bottom then restart your computer.
It is worth doing this regularly. When programs automatically update then often reset themselves to start when you boot up
4) Lots of antivirus programs can really slow your computer. If it is still slow disable the one that came with your computer and put another one on. I use AVG free which seems OK.

You can download Ccelaner, MyDefrag, AVG and other stuff from Filehippo.com.
The Lemming - on 14 Sep 2012
In reply to lazzaw:

You could also buy a Solid State Drive. I held back for a few years and finally got one this month.

I love the party trick of putting every single application into the Start Folder and watching them all pop up instantly on start up. They all fire into life quicker than it takes for something like Lightroom to start all by itself on a standard hard drive.

For day to day stuff like surfing the net, you won't notice the difference, but when it comes to number crunching of music, movies or suchlike then, fek me, these disks earn their money straight away.

And what's not to like about a boot-up time of well under 30 seconds?

armus on 15 Sep 2012
In reply to The Lemming:
> (In reply to maria85)
> Have you considered installing and running:
> Ccleaner
> Malwarebytes
> two tools that should speed yout computer up.
download Ccelaner, MyDefrag, AVG and other stuff from Filehippo.com.

I would go for Iolo System Mechanic. It's about £20 per year but it's an award winner.

maria85 - on 15 Sep 2012
In reply to armus:

Thanks for the tips everyone, will have a good go at it this week when I get some free time. Will let you know if it works!
Avinash Aujayeb - on 19 Sep 2012
In reply to lazzaw:

Great tip


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