File Sizes and Transfer Speeds

Author: Swapna Naraharisetty, 2BrightSparks Pte. Ltd.

The size of a file is the amount of data stored in a file, or the measure of space consumed by a file on a storage medium such as an internal/external drive, network drive, FTP server or cloud. File sizes are measured in Bytes (B), Kilobytes (KB), Megabytes (MB), Gigabytes (GB), Terabytes (TB) and so on. The file sizes can be measured using a binary system (where kilo means 1024) or metric system (kilo means 1000).

Data transfer speed is a measure of data that is transferred from one location to another in a given amount of time. Data transfer speeds are measured in bits per second (b) or bytes per second (B). A bit is represented with a lowercase “b”, while a byte is represented with an uppercase “B”, for example: Kbps means ‘Kilobits per second’, and KBps means ‘Kilobytes per second’.

File Sizes


A bit is a smallest unit of data, which holds either 1 or 0 (or on/off). The unit of a bit is represented by a lowercase b.


A byte is a sequence of 8 bits. A byte can represent a letter, a number or a symbol. The unit of a byte is represented by an uppercase B.


A kilobyte is equal to 1024 bytes. It is normally used to describe the size of small files stored on a storage device e.g. text files or txt files. The Kilobyte is abbreviated as KB.


A Megabyte is 1024 kilobytes. It is used to measure the size of large files e.g. image files or JPEG files. The Megabyte is abbreviated as MB.


A Gigabyte is 1024 megabytes. It is used to measure the volume of storage devices. The Gigabyte is abbreviated as GB.


A Terabyte is 1024 gigabytes. It is used to measure the capacity of large storage devices. The Terabyte is abbreviated as TB.

Transfer Speeds


means one bit per second. Note the small b to indicate bits and not bytes.


means one byte per second or 8 bits per second. Note that capital B to indicate bytes and not bits.


means one kilobyte per second or 1000 bytes per second. This uses a decimal prefix.


means one kibibyte per second or 1024 bytes per second. This uses a binary prefix (note the i).


means 1,000,000 bytes per second. This uses a decimal prefix.


means one mebibyte per second or 1,048,576 bytes per second. This uses a binary prefix.


means 1,000,000,000 bytes per second. This uses a decimal prefix.


means one gibibyte per second or 1,073,741,824 bytes per second. This uses a binary prefix.


means 1,000,000,000,000 bytes per second. This uses a decimal prefix.


means one tebibyte per second or 1,099,511,627,776 bytes per second. This uses a binary prefix.


In SyncBack the file sizes and transfer speeds are expressed in bytes, kilobytes, megabytes and so on, and not in bits form.

After V8.5.43.0, SyncBack correctly uses the binary prefix for transfer speeds. SyncBack V8.5.43.0 and earlier show transfer speeds using the decimal prefix, but they are actually binary values. For example, 1MBps is shown but it is actually 1,048,576 bytes per second and not 1,000,000 bytes per second.

SyncBack uses the binary system (like Windows) to describe file sizes, and not the metric system (SI). It is also shown the same way as in Windows. For example, a file that is 3,145,728 bytes in size is shown as being 3MB. Technically, it should be shown as 3MiB, but to be consistent with Windows it is displayed as 3MB. Windows uses the JEDEC 100B.01 standard.

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