NTFS-FAT32-ExFAT- What to choose? Know the DiffranceMurtaza J.
Whenever you format your internal, external or a USB removable drive windows will give you three options: NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. Here we will explain to you what those options mean.
What is a File system?
A file system shows the way of establishing a drive. It manages the types of data storage and type of data that belongs to the files as in file names, attributes, and permissions. Windows OS supports three type of file systems.
NTFS-New Technology File System
NTFS is the most recent file system. All windows versions use NTFS as a default file system for the main internal hard drive and not all but most removable drives.
NTFS is the favorite file system of windows. When you install windows OS it automatically formats your drive in NTFS file system. NTFS has its limits in terms of partition size and it too huge that we can’t just avoid it. NTFS was first introduced with Windows XP but its seeds are based on Windows NT.
NTFS is filled with all new features that FAT and exFAT does not include. NTFS has file system permission In terms of security, a change pattern which helps to recover the system from crash, encryption, shadow backups, hard links, quota limit management and much more features. Many of these features are very much important for an operating system, especially file permissions.
Your windows partition can only be NTFS. If you are using a secondary drive with windows and you need to install some programs in it then you will need to format that as NTFS too. And if you are strongly a windows person and use your external drive on windows only then sure format it as NTFS.
- Supports all Windows versions.
- Read only on MAC devices.
- Can be read only on some Linux systems.
- Other devices such as Microsoft Xbox One- might not support NTFS
Limits: No accurate file-size or partition size limits.
Ideal use: Use it only for windows systems and only for windows programs.
FAT32: FILE ALLOCATION TABLE
FAT32 is the oldest of all file systems available on windows. It made its first debut in windows95 replacing FAT16 file system which was used in MS-DOS and Windows 3.
Advantages: It’s the oldest file system so it supports across all the platforms. FAT32 is the de-facto standard. Flash USB drives you may purchase will come with FAT32 file system formatted to support across almost all operating system platforms.
Limitations: We can’t store file size more than a 4GB individual on FAT32 drives. Maximum partition size on an FAT32 is 8TB.
FAT32 is good for USB drives when you know that you will be using it in all different OS platforms. You shouldn’t use FAT32 as windows internal because it has permission limitations and newer versions of Windows will not allow you to install on an FAT32 partition anyway.
Compatibility: Supports all operating system platforms. Technically anything that has a USB port.
Ideal Use: Assuming you don’t have any files more than 4GB, it’s good for removable drives for best compatibility over all platforms.
Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT)
Introduced back in 2006 exFAT supports all versions of Windows and with updated versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista. The file system is specially optimized for USB flash drives. Has no extra features than FAT32 and same as NTFS without any limitations from FAT32. exFAT supports large files more than 4GB. Unlike NTFS, ExFAT has full compatibility on MAC devices with full features of read-write.
Compatibility: Supports all Windows versions. Full support on MAC OS X systems. Can be accessed in Linux with respective software.
Limits: No realistic file-size or partition-size limits.
Ideal Use: can be used for larger file size and partition limits than FAT32 and in terms of compatibility it’s more widespread than NTFS. If every device you use supports ExFAT then format your drive with exFAT.
Before formatting any drives for partitioning always take a full back up. Consult computer repair services for more details. Avoid data loss by full back up and in terms of Data recovery contact Data Recovery companies.