Why it takes 30 minutes to delete 0 bytes? (Aka ‘fun with Windows and WinRar’)

First lets say, that I really have nothing against Windows. I like this system. I used some other operating systems and eventually decided to use Windows as my workstation. It somehow works for me. There are better OS for servers and better for graphics maybe, but I still like Windows. Anyhow, this couldn’t stop me from making little fun of Microsoft and WinRar. Well, I’ve heard that apparently NTFS partition has some limits in Ms Windows, where maximum number of files and subfolders within a single folder is something like 65,534. I’ve got onto a journey to test it out :)

Anyhow, let the story begin!

I have to say, that I’ve got a decent computer with installation of Windows Xp Home Edition, Service Pack 2. Here is little about the machine’s hardwate configuration:

This computer can handle a lot. As per wikipedia, Pentium 4 running at 3Ghz can do 9726 MIPS. That is 9726 Million instructions per second. Hm… So we should be fine on hardware side for this experiment to start.

First I wrote this little program in vb.net, which can create as many blank files as you set it to.
Here is the download link if someone wants to give it a try: http://www.joe0.com/winfun.rar
It includes an executable in subfolder called ‘Bin’, and also the whole source code if someone feels like playing around with it :)

Ok, so this way I have created 1 million blank files, program named them automatically from 0.txt to 1000000.txt.

All files were placed into one subfolder called “Data”.

Running Windows properties on this folder, Windows proudly announced, that I have exactly 1 million files in my folder, all these files together are 0 bytes in size and also taking 0 bytes on my hard drive:

At this point, I am thinkg: “wow, that is nice”. Lets open my “data” folder.

This is what happened:

… and that is also how it stayed for another 28 minutes.
Eventually Windows decided to open up this folder and presented me with the list of approx. 100 files, that is as much it could fit into the window view. So I decided to use the scrollbar to see if all 1 million files are there… that was a mistake :) Another 20 minutes later it moved.

So, I rather closed the folder and I am thinking. Lets see how long it will take to zip the folder. Well to my surprise I do not have winzip for a long time now, as I trashed it in favor of WinRar (www.winrar.com), so I used WinRar instead.

I have right clicked on my data folder and seleted WinRar to archive it to one data.rar. Thinking, this will take maybe 1-2 minutes as files are sorted in logical sense and they are as per Windows 0 bytes large :) haha…. So the process started:

30 minutes later, still nothing.
So I checked my task manager to see what is happening to my computer’s memory:

and cpu: :)

Wow, WinRar is after 30minutes of processing still taking 50% of all cpu power and well over 100mb of RAM? Holy cow…
So I am waiting… after one hour, I am still presented with this screen:

After quite a long time, I had to shut it down. It was doing something, but to no result.
Result of this experiment: Rar-ing of windows estimated “0 bytes” takes == “who knows how long“.

So here we go. I am thinking, what else to try?
Nothing is crossing my mind, so I decided to delete the folder – even that it’s ‘not taking any space on my hard drive’. :)

Here is what it showed:

Approximately 30 minutes later, I’ve got this message:

Holy cow…someone is using my computer! :) I don’t have it opened, that I would know of… that would actually be a pleasant surprise… :)

Haha… but, looking for my ‘data’ folder it seems to be deleted. Even that the error came. Hm.
So thinking I finally got rid of it, I realized, I shouldn’t speak too fast, it’s still in my recycle bin :)
So lets empty my recycle bin.

Process got stuck first time around and I had to reboot. Whole windows got frozen.
(Too bad I cannot make a screenshot of blue screen)

Then I tried again and got finally prompted with this:

Awesome, only 10 mins approx.
I decided to measure it, just for fun.
It wasn’t 10 minutes, it took long 30 minutes to finally delete 0 bytes :)

Now, even that nothing is happening and ‘nothing’ is gone my machine is still acting slugish, everything is so slow.

I am rebooting again.

To end this torture, lets quote Jonathan Swift, who once said: “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
I say: “Blessed is he who expects nothing to be deleted, for he shall end up disappointed.”

Cheers Microsoft! Cheers WinRar! And sorry for making fun of you guys.
I really love you both and without you I wouldn’t be able to function, but still :), there has to be some fun. :)


And now, Thanks to Google Advertising, lets end this story with some ads:

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