A file system is the structure in which files are named, stored and accessed. Microsoft windows XP supports three types of file system on hard disk FAT, FAT32 and NTFS. It is important that you understand how file system work so that you can select the file system or file system that are best suited for your environment and tasks.
When choosing a FAT, FAT32 or NTFS file system, you must consider the features and functions that are associated with the file system. You must also consider limitations, such as maximum volume size, cluster size, and compatibility with other operating systems. In this post I will give a clear idea to choose FAT, FAT32, or NTFS file system.
FAT file system :
FAT works best on small disks that have simple folder structures. FAT file system supports volume sizes up to 2 gigabytes(GB). You must divide a large disk into volumes and no volume should exceed 2 GB.FAT file system supports cluster sizes up to 64 KB for large volumes. It supports dual-boot configurations. It support Microsoft Xp Professional, Microsoft Winodws 2000 Professional, Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0, Microsoft 95 OSR2, Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, MS-DOS operating system.
FAT 32 file system :
FAT 32 works well on larger disks that have more complex folder structures. FAT32 supports volume size up to 32 GB. Volumes can be as large as 2 terabytes, but Windows XP Professional limits the volume that you can format to 32 GB.It has greater flexibility on how you organize large disks from many small volume up to a single large volume. Not exceeding 32 GB.It also supports smaller cluster size 16KB. Small cluster size helps to reduce wasted space on Hard Disk.FAT 32 supports dual-boot configuration on operating systems. It support window xp professional, windows 2000 professional, windows 95, windows 98 and Windows Millennium.
NTFS File System :
NTFS file system is difference from among FAT and FAT32 file system. NTFS file system use 4 KB cluster size. It reduce to waste space on hard disk. It support Microsoft Windows NT workstation 4.0, Windows 200 Professional, Windows XP Professional and later version of Microsoft Windows Operating System
The most important noticeable matter is NTFS has following features :
Reliability : NTFS uses log file and checkpoint information to restore the consistency of the file system when the computer is restarted. In the event of a bad-sector error, NTFS dynamically remaps the cluster containing the bad sector and allocates a new cluster for the data. NTFS also marks the cluster as bad and no longer uses it.
Greater Security : NTFS files use Encryption File System (EFS) to secure files and folder. If NTFS file system enabled, files and folder can be encrypted for use by single or multiple users. The benefits of encryption are data confidentiality and data integrity, which can protect data against malicious or accidental modification. NTFS also enables you to set access permission on a file or folder.
Improved management of storage growth : NTFS supports the use of disk quotas. Disk quotas enable you to specify the amount of disk space that is available to a user.By enabling disk quotas, you can track and control disk space usage. You can configure whether users are allowed to exceed their limits, and you can also configure Windows XP Professional to log an event when a user exceeds a specified warning level or quota limit.With NTFS you can easily create extra disk space by compressing files, extending volumes, or mounting a drive.
Support for larger volume sizes : Theoretically, you can format a volume up to 32 exabytes by using NTFS. NTFS also supports larger files and a larger number of files per volume than FAT or FAT32. NTFS also manages disk space efficiently by using smaller cluster size.
For Example : A 30 GB NTFS volume uses 4-KB clusters. The same volume formatted with FAT32 uses 16-KB clusters and 64-KB for FAT file system. Using small clusters reduces wasted space on hard disks.
Considerations for choosing the appropriate file system :
When choosing the appropriate file system to use, you need to determine :
If the computer has a single operating system or is a multiple-boot system. On computers that contain multiple operating system, file-system compatibility can be complex because different version of windows support different combinations of the file system.
The number and size of locally installed hard disk :
Each file system has a different maximum volume size. As volume sizes increase, your choice of file systems becomes limited. For example, both FAT32 and NTFS can read volumes larger than 32 GB; however only NTFS can be used for formal volumes larger than 32 GB in windows XP Professional.
If you benefit by using advanced file system features :
NTFS offers features such as disk quotas, distributed link tracking, compression, and mounted drives. These features are not available on FAT or FAt32 volumes.