When it comes to managing files on your computer, you may have heard the terms “size” and “size on disk” being thrown around. But do you know the difference between the two?
And more importantly, do you know why it matters? Well, buckle up buttercup, because we’re about to dive into the nitty-gritty of size vs size on disk.
First off, let’s define our terms. File size refers to the actual amount of data contained within a file, while size on disk refers to the amount of storage space a file takes up on your hard drive or other storage device.
Now, you may be thinking “well, duh, of course they’re different”. But the difference between the two can have a big impact on how you manage your files and how much storage space you have available.
Understanding the difference between file size and size on disk
When you look at the properties of a file, you’ll typically see two different measurements: the file size and the size on disk.
The file size refers to the amount of data contained within the file, whether it’s a document, an image, or a video. The size on disk, on the other hand, refers to the amount of storage space the file takes up on your hard drive or other storage device. The difference between these two measurements can be significant, especially when it comes to large files.
How file compression affects size vs size on disk
One of the biggest factors that can affect the difference between file size and size on disk is file compression.
When a file is compressed, its data is squeezed into a smaller package, which reduces its file size. However, the size on disk remains the same. This means that a compressed file will take up less space on your hard drive than an uncompressed version of the same file. So, if you’re running low on storage space, compressing some of your files can help free up some room.
The impact of file system and cluster size on size vs size on disk
The file system and cluster size used on your storage device can also have an impact on the difference between file size and size on disk.
Different file systems, such as NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT, have different ways of organizing files on a storage device, which can affect how much space a file takes up. Cluster size, which is the smallest unit of storage space on a storage device, can also impact the size on disk of a file. A larger cluster size will result in larger files taking up more space on disk, even if the file size remains the same.
Investigating large files with discrepancy between size and size on disk
Have you ever come across a file that has a large discrepancy between its file size and size on disk?
This can happen for a number of reasons, such as file fragmentation or a change in the cluster size of the storage device. If you’re running low on storage space, it’s a good idea to investigate large files with a large discrepancy between file size and size on disk. These files may be taking up more space on your hard drive than they need to.
Understanding the role of file fragmentation in size vs size on disk
File fragmentation is another factor that can affect the difference between file size and size on disk.
When a file is saved to a storage device, it’s broken up into smaller pieces and stored in different locations on the device. This can cause the file to take up more space on the storage device than its file size would suggest.
Defragmenting your hard drive can help reduce file fragmentation and free up some storage space.