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This article applies to version 6.

Available in:

Small Business
Code42 Support

Why does the Code42 app show a different number of files than my computer?

This article applies to version 6.

Available in:

Small Business


If you compare the number of files on your computer to the number of files the Code42 app says it's backing up, you may notice a difference. This article explains why there can be a discrepancy between your computer and the Code42 app.

Compare the number of files

You can see information about a folder, including the number of files it contains and its total size by right-clicking (Windows) or control-clicking (Mac) on a folder.

If you compare the number of files reported by your computer to the number of files reported by the Code42 app for the same folder, you may notice a difference.

The Code42 app reports more files than your computer

Every computer contains hidden files that don't display by default when you're browsing files (examples include ”.DS_Store” and ”desktop.ini” files). They're hidden because they aren't files you use directly, but your computer uses them to operate.

The Code42 app detects hidden files and backs them up, just like it backs up the files that you can see. The combined total of normal files and hidden files is the total reported on the Backup tab of the Code42 app. As a result, the Code42 app may report that it is backing up more files than your computer.

The Code42 app reports smaller total file size than your computer

It's also possible that the Code42 app reports backing up less total data than your computer says it's storing. For example, your operating system may report that a folder takes up 10 GB of space, but the Code42 app says it's only backing up 9 GB from that same folder. There are several reasons that this may happen:

  • De-duplication and compression: Due to de-duplication and compression that occurs during the backup process, the Code42 app will often show the data stored size as smaller than the selected size or the file size on your computer. 
  • Admin excludes: The Code42 app is designed to avoid backing up some files that your computer uses to operate. The Code42 app doesn't back these files up because they can't be restored with the Code42 app. The only way to restore those operating system or software files with functionality is to fully reinstall the software.
  • Other exclusions: You (or your organization's backup administrator) can also configure the Code42 app to prevent backing up some files and file types.

The Code42 app reports larger total file size than your computer

In some cases, the stored size is larger because your backup archive includes multiple versions of your files and includes deleted files.

Calculation differences

Even after accounting for excluded files, you might see a file size discrepancy between the total reported on the Backup tab and the total reported by your computer for the same folders.

Calculation background

When human beings think about storage space, we calculate in a base-10 counting system. That is, a kilobyte is 1000 bytes, a megabyte is 1000 kilobytes, and a gigabyte is 1000 megabytes.

When your computer calculates storage space, it calculates in a base-2 counting system, or binary. For a computer, the storage unit of 1 gigabyte is equal to exactly 1024 megabytes, because it arrives there by multiplying 2 times 2 times 2...until it approximates 1000.

The practical result of this is that you and the computer can both measure the same thing, but the label used is different. Think of it like the difference between miles and kilometers. You can say that one mile equals 1.6 kilometers (or that one kilometer equals 1.62 miles). But no matter what measurement system you use, they both refer to the same amount of space.

Calculation results

To keep the Code42 app's functions streamlined and efficient, it "speaks" to your computer using the computer's native language of base-2. But on the Backup tab, it uses base-10 to report the total to you.

If your computer says a folder is 1 MB in size, the Code42 app reports it as about 96% of that amount—the difference between 1024 and 1000. If it's 1 GB, the amount reported is closer to 93%, and so on as the volume increases.


The Code42 app may show different values than your computer and it's usually not a cause for concern. However, you can verify that all of your files are backed up by doing the following: 

  1. In the Code42 app, go to restore files
  2. Select your device’s name to navigate to your device’s root folder. This selects all of your backed up files.
  3. The Code42 app calculates and displays the total size. If this size is close to the selected size, all of your files are backed up.


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