NTFS vs FAT32 on WinXP Home


C

Cwazee Yeti

I'm reading so many conflicting opinions on the issue of NTFS vs FAT32.
I'm wondering if someone here can give me an impartial opinion (MS is
touting NTFS... of course!)

I'm bought a new 320GB external hard disk (connected via USB 2) that
came factory formatted in FAT32 so that it will work on other OSs. But
I'm wondering if it's worthwhile reformatting it to NTFS.

Since I'm running Windows XP Home (SP2) I can't take advantage of XP's
encrypted file system (EFS), but everyone seems to agree that HDDs
exceeding 40GB should be NTFS nonetheless.
 
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T

Test Man

NTFS for sure. Unless you have an overwhelming desire to use the drive on
another OS, use NTFS as it's far better than FAT32.
 
T

Tim Slattery

Cwazee Yeti said:
I'm reading so many conflicting opinions on the issue of NTFS vs FAT32.
I'm wondering if someone here can give me an impartial opinion (MS is
touting NTFS... of course!)

I'm bought a new 320GB external hard disk (connected via USB 2) that
came factory formatted in FAT32 so that it will work on other OSs. But
I'm wondering if it's worthwhile reformatting it to NTFS.

If you're not going to dual-boot with an older OS, then yes,
absolutely! NTFS is a *far* better choice for huge disks like this.
It's more stable, much more resilient in the event of a crash, offers
access to XPs security features, etc, etc. And if you're going to be
handling video files, you may bump up against FAT32's maximum file
size of 4GB. That limit is reached by some backup programs, also. NTFS
can handle *much* larger files.
Since I'm running Windows XP Home (SP2) I can't take advantage of XP's
encrypted file system (EFS), but everyone seems to agree that HDDs
exceeding 40GB should be NTFS nonetheless.

I agree 100%. Although FAT32 can theoretically handle partitions into
the terabyte range, it doesn't really scale all that well.
 
M

Mike Cawood, HND BIT

Cwazee Yeti said:
I'm reading so many conflicting opinions on the issue of NTFS vs FAT32.
I'm wondering if someone here can give me an impartial opinion (MS is
touting NTFS... of course!)

I'm bought a new 320GB external hard disk (connected via USB 2) that
came factory formatted in FAT32 so that it will work on other OSs. But
I'm wondering if it's worthwhile reformatting it to NTFS.

Since I'm running Windows XP Home (SP2) I can't take advantage of XP's
encrypted file system (EFS), but everyone seems to agree that HDDs
exceeding 40GB should be NTFS nonetheless.
I have a 160GB external hard drive and I immediately reformatted to NTFS
when I bought it, so I can have it as a compressed volume, it takes a few
minutes but it's well worth it to reformat it to NTFS.
Look at this page
http://www.ntfs.com/ntfs_vs_fat.htm

regards Mike.
 
B

Bruce Chambers

Cwazee said:
I'm reading so many conflicting opinions on the issue of NTFS vs FAT32.
I'm wondering if someone here can give me an impartial opinion (MS is
touting NTFS... of course!)

I'm bought a new 320GB external hard disk (connected via USB 2) that
came factory formatted in FAT32 so that it will work on other OSs. But
I'm wondering if it's worthwhile reformatting it to NTFS.

Since I'm running Windows XP Home (SP2) I can't take advantage of XP's
encrypted file system (EFS), but everyone seems to agree that HDDs
exceeding 40GB should be NTFS nonetheless.


Personally, I wouldn't even consider using FAT32 when NTFS is an
option. FAT32 has no security capabilities, no compression
capabilities, no fault tolerance, no support for files larger than 4 Gb
(videos, anyone?), and a lot of wasted hard drive space on volumes
larger than 8 Gb in size. (Just try finding a hard drive that small,
nowadays.) The only reason I can think of to remain with FAT32 would be
if you anticipated a high likelihood of having to connect that external
drive to a Win9x machine. But your computing needs may vary, and there
is no hard and fast answer.

To answer your questions without getting too technical is
difficult, but has been handled quite well by the late Alex Nichol in
the article here:

FAT & NTFS File Systems in Windows XP
http://www.aumha.org/a/ntfs.htm

Somewhat more technical information is here:

Limitations of the FAT32 File System in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/directory/article.asp?ID=kb;en-us;Q314463

Choosing Between File Systems
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/tr...prodtechnol/winntas/tips/techrep/filesyst.asp

NTFS file system
http://www.digit-life.com/articles/ntfs/

You can safely convert your current hard drive to NTFS whenever
desired, without having to format the partition and reinstall
everything. As always when performing any serious changes, back up any
important data before proceeding, just in case. A little advance
preparation is also strongly recommended, so you can avoid any
performance hits caused by the default cluster size:

Converting FAT32 to NTFS in Windows
http://www.aumha.org/a/ntfscvt.htm


--

Bruce Chambers

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They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin

Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do. -Bertrand Russell
 
P

Plato

Cwazee said:
I'm reading so many conflicting opinions on the issue of NTFS vs FAT32.
I'm wondering if someone here can give me an impartial opinion (MS is
touting NTFS... of course!)

I'm bought a new 320GB external hard disk (connected via USB 2) that
came factory formatted in FAT32 so that it will work on other OSs. But
I'm wondering if it's worthwhile reformatting it to NTFS.

Since I'm running Windows XP Home (SP2) I can't take advantage of XP's
encrypted file system (EFS), but everyone seems to agree that HDDs
exceeding 40GB should be NTFS nonetheless.

FAT32 is easier to fix. NTFS can do large file sizes but is almost
impossible to fix from dos. NTFS is way better for larger/large hard
drives as it makes better use of the space. NTFS is as stable as FAT32.
 
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C

Cwazee Yeti

Hi all!

Thanks for all your advice and information!

I plan to use my 320GB HDD mostly for storage (all my music files,
digital photos, and to backup my PC) and not to run apps off of so the
drive won't be under any intensive !/O.

After going through all you info I decided to reformat in NTFS and
everything's running smoothly!

Thanks again!
 
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B

Bruce Chambers

Plato said:
FAT32 is easier to fix. ....


And NTFS rarely requires "fixing."




--

Bruce Chambers

Help us help you:



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin

Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do. -Bertrand Russell
 

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