FAT32 vs. NTFS

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by erikguy, Apr 27, 2005.

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  1. erikguy

    erikguy Registered Member

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    When I reinstalled my Windows this time I went with a FAT32 file system instead of NTFS. I mean we don't have a Mac on our home network so I really didn't see a point. Is there really that much of a difference? Am I missing out on anything, functionality-wise going with FAT32? Reponses are appreciated.

    Thanks,
    erikguy
     
  2. hadi

    hadi Guest

  3. Infinity

    Infinity Registered Member

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    Hadi gave you a link which should give you plenty of motives why you should choose ntfs imho. It is faster and safer (ntfs)

    regards
     
  4. meneer

    meneer Registered Member

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    The above mentioned link is nice, once you know what everything really means. It says Built-In Security is not available in FAT.

    The security part in fact comes down to a basic administrative function:
    Every file and directory belongs to a 'user'. No big deal, but this means that you can also, using Windows permissions, apply an access control list to control which user and which process can acces the file, to read, write, execute and so on.

    As you can see this does mean that ntfs file protection only works when used from a windows operating system.

    Without this basic administration, protection of files is just not possible. Most other file systems also know a comparable security feature.

    So, ownership is one feature. Other security features are inheritance of security settings and auditing. But as I said, all features only work in combination with Windows. If you do use Windows: without NTFS there is NO file protection.
    If you do use NTFS: there is little file protection against attackers using other operating systems (you can read ntfs using dos or linux, writing is somewhat less stable).

    There is more to ntfs than just security, but it is all connected to using Windows. For example compression (not really compression, it's more a way to use the tracks and sectors more efficiently) and encryption (efs) are added bonusses.
     
  5. AnthonyG

    AnthonyG Registered Member

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    All i know which is the deciding factor for me is Fat32 doesnt allow files bigger than 1GB. Which i have a lot of
     
  6. dread

    dread Registered Member

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    If its a older computer use fat. Ntfs is slower on older computers and you can actually tell a speed increase using fat. If its a newer comp use ntfs.
     
  7. meneer

    meneer Registered Member

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    In which case not only the file system is heavy, but the operating system itself will probably be to demanding too...
     
  8. erikguy

    erikguy Registered Member

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    Well I'm the only one that uses this computer and it's pretty fast, I was just getting sick of seeing ADS streams I had to erase every so often. I'll take a look at that link, now.
     
  9. erikguy

    erikguy Registered Member

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    Well if I wanted to encrypt or compress something I could do it with a third party app right?
     
  10. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    I've tested NTFS and FAT32 on a P4 and an AMD, and I actually found NTFS to be less 'choppy' in my games.
     
  11. meneer

    meneer Registered Member

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    Please do!

    I just noticed that pgp will be offering full disk encryption as part of their secure desktop solution.
     
  12. zoriv

    zoriv Registered Member

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    Please read quoted instructions given by MS and you'll find the real answer for yr question.
    quote
    Choosing between NTFS, FAT, and FAT32You can choose between three file systems for disk partitions on a computer running Windows XP: NTFS, FAT, and FAT32. Use the information below to compare the file systems.

    NTFS is the recommended file system for the following reasons:

    NTFS is more powerful than FAT or FAT32, and includes features required for hosting Active Directory as well as other important security features. You can use features such as Active Directory and domain-based security only by choosing NTFS as your file system.
    It is easy to convert partitions to NTFS. The Setup program makes conversion easy, whether your partitions used FAT, FAT32, or the older version of NTFS. This kind of conversion keeps your files intact (unlike formatting a partition). If you do not need to keep your files intact and you have a FAT or FAT32 partition, it is recommended that you format the partition with NTFS rather than convert from FAT or FAT32. Formatting a partition erases all data on the partition and allows you to start with a clean drive.
    Whether a partition is formatted with NTFS or converted using the convert command, NTFS is the better choice of file system. For more information about Convert.exe, after completing Setup, click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then press ENTER. In the command window, type help convert and then press ENTER.

    In order to maintain access control on files and folders and support limited accounts, you must use NTFS. If you use FAT32, all users will have access to all files on your hard drive, regardless of their account type (administrator, limited, or standard.)
    NTFS is the file system that works best with large disks. (The next best file system for large disks is FAT32.)
    There is one situation in which you might want to choose FAT or FAT32 as your file system. If it is necessary to have a computer that will sometimes run an earlier version of Windows and other times run Windows XP, you will need to have a FAT or FAT32 partition as the primary (or startup) partition on the hard disk. Most earlier versions of Windows cannot access a partition if it uses the latest version of NTFS. The two exceptions are Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or later. Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or later has access to partitions with the latest version of NTFS, but with some limitations: It cannot access files that have been stored using NTFS features that did not exist when Windows NT 4.0 was released.

    For anything other than a situation with multiple operating systems, however, the recommended file system is NTFS.

    Important

    Once you convert a drive or partition to NTFS, you cannot simply convert it back to FAT or FAT32. You will need to reformat the drive or partition which will erase all data including programs and personal files on the partition.
    The following table describes the compatibility of each file system with various operating systems.

    NTFS FAT FAT32
    A computer running Windows XP or Windows 2000 can access files on an NTFS partition. A computer running Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or later might be able to access some files. Other operating systems allow no access. Access is available through MS-DOS, all versions of Windows, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and OS/2. Access is available only through Windows 95 OSR2, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.


    The following table compares disk and file sizes possible with each file system.

    NTFS FAT FAT32
    Recommended minimum volume size is approximately 10 megabytes (MB).
    Volumes much larger than 2 terabytes (TB) are possible.

    Cannot be used on floppy disks.
    Volumes from floppy disk size up to 4 gigabytes (GB).
    Does not support domains.
    Volumes from 512 MB to 2 TB.
    In Windows XP, you can format a FAT32 volume up to 32 GB only.

    Does not support domains.

    File size limited only by size of volume. Maximum file size is 2 GB. Maximum file size is 4 GB.
    unquote
    The text is taken from windows xp in help and supporting the article choosing between NTFS,FAT and FAT 32
     
  13. erikguy

    erikguy Registered Member

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    Hey meneer! PGP? please provide a link.

    Thanks for your input Firecat! Well noted.

    Zoriv, I'm the only user of this computer so the security implications aren't that important. And I don't have files that big (4GB or even 1 for that matter) anyway. Thank you for your informative post, however.
     
  14. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    In my opinion I don't see why anyone would want to run fat32 unless that is all their os can support. With the advantages of ntfs it kind of makes fat32 a dinosaur.
     
  15. erikguy

    erikguy Registered Member

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    It's a good point bigc, however, the security risks associated with ADS are far too important to ignore IMO. And since the most practical use for ADS is to support Macs on networks (which my roommate and I don't have) I don't see a reason for risking my security for a feature M$ says I need but don't.
     
  16. Randy_Bell

    Randy_Bell Registered Member

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    Besides the Security issues [to which I give NTFS the edge], there is the practical issue of cluster size and utilization of your hard drive. NTFS can support practically unlimited partition {I think it is like 200 terabytes or so} with a cluster size of 4K. FAT32 can only support a partition of 8 Gigs or smaller with a cluster size of 4K. NTFS is much the superior solution for partitions over 8 Gigs; for the typical modern large hard drives of 120+ Gigs, NTFS is the way to go unless you want to have many small FAT32 partitions and the many associated drive letters that use up the alphabet .. heh. A 4K cluster size is pretty much optimal/recommended, so go with NTFS for modern large disks, IMHO .. ;)
     
  17. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    Yes, I completely forgot the hell I had to go through when I wanted FAT32 after upgrading my hard disks to 160GB :eek::'(

    I never did get FAT32. Effort wasted; did NTFS instead, and now its great :)
     
  18. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    The ADS situation is completely out of hand, It has been blown so far out of proportion that it is almost laughable. If someone hadn't read something about ads and then posted their opinion on it and then the next person keeps it going pretty near no one would even know they existed. When was the last time you actually know of someone getting infected through ADS? I never have heard of it, I have heard speculation but not any real time occurances. It is just like that little snowball that the further it rolled the bigger it got ;)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2005
  19. erikguy

    erikguy Registered Member

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    OK. But you got to admit it gets annoying having to erase streams after downloads, file copying from CDs, etc. Especially when most ADS "scanners" don't seem to work very well. BTW Randy, Firecat, I'm using a 120GB drive here with FAT32, one partition. All in all though, I'm convinced. NTFS is the way to go. ;)
     
  20. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    Oh dont worry, all KAV 5 users who had to suffer the ADS problems, be happy in knowing that KAV 2006 will automatically fix those while scanning (All KAVICHS streams are fixed/deleted while scanning system).
     
  21. Randy_Bell

    Randy_Bell Registered Member

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    FYI, you are using 32K cluster size for that volume, whereas NTFS would have the more efficient 4K cluster size:

    FAT32 Performance Tradeoff: FAT32 Cluster Sizes and FAT Sizes

    Description of Default Cluster Sizes for FAT32 File System

    NTFS has the security features [permissions-restrictions to file access] as described above in previous posts, and it has advanced features such as compression and encryption of individual folders. Glad to hear you realize the superiority of NTFS for larger volumes. ;)
     
  22. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    A question to ask:

    Say I have three drivers, C:, D:, and E:

    1)If I format C:\ with NTFS using Windows NT4
    2)If I format D:\ using Win2k pro
    3)If I format E:\ using WinXP

    Then what would be the difference between the three file systems? One is using NTFS v4, the other is using NTFS 5.0, and the third is using NTFS 5.1
     
  23. madamepc

    madamepc Guest


    i did look whole week around what about those streams, and it seems normal, when i saved them, i sam first it was a pif file, or a dos supporting other programs file, and that seems to be normal, also they are, o bytes, all this is typical ntfs, and does not apear on fat32 disk, what is the advantage, of supporting all datea have theis r own streams?
    when you see that something is wrong with them, mine were thos dos-support files, 0bytes, 88 butes, mostly
    dis it influence rootkid revealero_O my friend did not have any results, i did 45000 supisious items....
    can it be because of tds? it was completely disabeledo_O
    i looked all this cause something goes wrong with pc, but it seems not the streams, and can i trust now rootkidrevealer? or is that ttooo extreem 45000 files not oko_O?
    help please anybody:)
     
  24. pcalvert

    pcalvert Registered Member

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    FAT32 is useful for multiboot systems, so it would be a good idea to have a FAT32 partition so that all OSes can access data files. Linux has no trouble reading and writing to FAT32. As for NTFS, reading isn't a problem for Linux, but writing to NTFS from Linux is a bit risky.

    I've read that if Windows crashes and won't boot, recovering files from an NTFS partition can be difficult. So that is another consideration. On the other hand, I believe that there are some DOS utilities that allow one to perform data recovery on NTFS partitions, so it may not be a big issue.

    Phil
     
  25. meneer

    meneer Registered Member

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    Sorry for any delay. wholedisk
    A bit too expensive in my opinion, drivecrypt plus pack seems quite as appealing.
     
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