How Big Are Peoples' Computer Files? File Size Distributions Among User-managed Collections

07/07/2021 ∙ by Jesse David Dinneen, et al. ∙ 0

Improving file management interfaces and optimising system performance requires current data about users' digital collections and particularly about the file size distributions of such collections. However, prior works have examined only the sizes of system files and users' work files in varied contexts, and there has been no such study since 2013; it therefore remains unclear how today's file sizes are distributed, particularly personal files, and further if distributions differ among the major operating systems or common occupations. Here we examine such differences among 49 million files in 348 user collections. We find that the average file size has grown more than ten-fold since the mid-2000s, though most files are still under 8 MB, and that there are demographic and technological influences in the size distributions. We discuss the implications for user interfaces, system optimisation, and PIM research.

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