Windows XP - Use NTFS or FAT32 ???


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Mordor

Hello All,

I plan on updating to XP Pro (on 2 home networked machines?...ouch?the price tag) when it becomes available and am curious about which File System to use. I am currently dual booting Win98se and Win2k and am seriously thinking about going with a single OS (WinXP) instead of wasting space keeping a second OS ?available for problems? when I may not need to.

I have never formatted a drive with NTFS and all I can go on is what I have read about it. Mainly the file security features and encryption (which really has me drooling over certain aspects?...prying family members denied access to updating files, drivers, etc?) and has me frantically worried on the other hand?...crashes, can?t boot up properly, can?t read from a DOS prompt. Because of this, I have put off even attempting to see the differences between FAT ? NTFS and FAT32 ? NTFS firsthand.

Now that M$ is forcing their NT Kernel into the home market with their ?XP Home Edition? I would have to make an assumption in stating that NTFS would run the OS more stable. If this is the case, then manufacturers like Dell, Gateway, etc., would more than likely sell new XP systems with the NTFS file system format. This also introduces more problems for the ?average? user in fixing problems if the standard Startup Disks/Rescue Disks are ineffective.

I guess what I am trying to say is that when I buy WinXP Pro do I pickup a copy of PartitionMagic 7.0 with it or should I stick with FAT32?

Thanks,

Mordor

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PabUK

You don't need to pick up a copy of PartitionMagic just to use NTFS, the Windows XP installation will convert drives for you if you wish (but I think only if you do the fresh install option).

I wish I could say which is better, there doesn't seem to be a lot of solid information either way. I have used both a lot and have to say I have had more problems with NTFS than I ever had with FAT32 but that could be unrelated to the actual file system.

I stick with NTFS for both my partitions now because I have dual boot 2K and XP installed, so if one has a problem it is easy to access the partition still in the other. As NTFS is supposed to be so much better, I would say go with it.

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aco

I have stuck with FAT32 on Windows XP and have had no trouble as yet. I think that only large corporations or schools with large networks need NTFS.

I run through a small network of two computers and feel no need for some features of NTFS.

:)

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PabUK

Wow, those 2 posts were made at the same time!

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DjmUK

It's a good question you have there. As you know the only differences are:

New Technologies File System (NTFS):

- Requires at least 34Mb of parition info

- O/S more stable

- Increased security

- Increased encryption

- More compatible with WinXP

File Allocation Table 32 (FAT32):

- Requires only a few hundred kilobytes of partition info

- O/S quite stable

- Still works for me

I use FAT32. But most people in here will tell you to go for the NTFS file system, but at the end of the day - the choice is yours :ninja:

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DjmUK

3 posts at the same time - bluddey hell that's good timing guys :ninja:

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Mordor

WOW!!!

Thanks for all the quick replies!

I feel this issue will require me to think things VERY carefully!

Mordor

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aco

My first post was a *bit off bull***** :) so I'd like to add this;

You can convert From FAT32 to NTFS at any time (but not backwards) so one approach may be to give FAT32 a whirl first and see how it performs on your system, then convert to NTFS later if you like.

Also, from what I have heard people have been having truoble installing XP on FAT32 drives over 30GB... This may be a problem for you if it is true.

Anyhow, I hope I have been more help this time :D

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EmuZombie
Originally posted by DjmUK  

New Technologies File System (NTFS):

hmm... you know... I always thought Windows NT meant..

Windows Network Terminial...

so then wouldn't NTFS be Network Terminal File System?

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PabUK
Originally posted by DjmUK  

3 posts at the same time - bluddey hell that's good timing guys :ninja:

We are all just so helpful! :cool:

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aco
Originally posted by EmuZombie  

hmm...  you know... I always thought Windows NT meant..

Windows Network Terminial...

so then wouldn't NTFS be Network Terminal File System?

I thought it meant "New Technology"

It is kind of ironic that they say Built on NT Technology, because it would mean Built on New Technology Technology.

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Mordor

Hello,

Regarding the Partition Magic portion of my message:

It was my understanding that PM could revert NTFS partitions back to FAT32 as needed. I currently have my drives partitioned only with FAT32 (spread out from C: thru U: ----- divided into Apps and Games drives respectively.

I could easily "experiment" and see what a NTFS file system could do but am afraid that I would damage the disk or never recover that partition back if I had problems.

I would think that Microsoft would want everyone to use NTFS from this point forward (why include it then???) as the advantages it has are clearly being hyped in selling their product.

................

Again, thanks to everyone for their replies, I really appreciate it.

I feel I need to find more info on both File Systems (Advantages/Limitations) than I thought I needed.

Mordor

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PabUK

You can indeed convert back to FAT32 with PartitionMagic 7:

Convert between File Systems without losing data - With PartitionMagic, convert file systems without losing data. Conversions include FAT to FAT32 and NTFS; FAT32 to FAT; NTFS to FAT and FAT32; Primary to Logical and vice versa; and FAT32 to NTFS under Windows 2000 Professional.
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aco

Straight from MS:

Support for large hard drives.

Hard-drive vendors expect to deliver drive-size capacities in excess of 127 GB in the near future. Windows XP and Windows 2000 provide native support for NTFS volumes on such large sizes, while a FAT32 volume is supported only for sizes up to 32 GB.

Support for large file sizes.

Under Windows XP and Windows 2000, NTFS supports a maximum file size of up to the disk size, while FAT32 supports a maximum file size of only 4 GB. Windows XP delivers new features (such as support for acquiring and editing video files) that frequently result in creation of files that exceed 4 GB in size.

Among others... all at

http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/storage/ntf...-preinstall.htm

Sorry, I was didn't think about PM 7.0. But It could start to get very pricey for you Mordor...If you are thinking of buying XP and PM.

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Mordor

Thanks aco!

I know.....I just purchased another 512mb of DDR Ram for $100!

Don't really need it...but what the hell...it's too good to pass up.

WinXP (ONE copy) is going to cost me 3 times as much as the Ram!!!!

What's wrong with this picture???

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aco
Originally posted by Mordor  

Thanks aco!

I know.....I just purchased another 512mb of DDR Ram for $100!

Don't really need it...but what the hell...it's too good to pass up.

WinXP (ONE copy) is going to cost me 3 times as much as the Ram!!!!    

What's wrong with this picture???

No probelms :)

You got a pretty good deal and why not RAM is dirt cheap at the moment....compared to XP :(

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PabUK

I wonder who decides the prices of things like Windows XP? And what kind of stupid reasons do they come up with for it? Pretty much everyone agrees that it is well overpriced and if it was lower more people would buy which is just what MS want!

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Mordor

Reading the link to M$ site that aco posted, Certain info jumps out at you:

Improved performance:

Feedback from customers and manufacturers indicates that users want systems optimized for general performance and boot times. New file system features, boot time improvements, and other performance improvements in Windows XP have been implemented only for NTFS, as described later in this article.

Simple management of single disk partitions.

Feedback from customers and system manufacturers indicates that users want single volumes because they do not want to manage multiple volumes and do not understand multiple-volume usage scenarios.

Notes on Preinstallation Tools and NTFS:

Microsoft strongly encourages system manufacturers to implement single NTFS volumes when preinstalling Windows XP.

(They strongly encourage.......after reading this I think everyone will be forced to use NTFS in the very near future, otherwise certain application enhancements won't work at all)

Well, I guess my decision has already been made for me!

Mordor

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Glowstick

NTFS needs about 20-30megs for it's MFT and journal. Latter one is a great help for recovering from disk errors, since there will be a log file of all disk operations. That logfiles saved my ass multiple times.

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Mordor

The MFT logfile...what if the drive it's residing on is the corrupt drive? What if the logfile becomes corrupt?

CanI specify what drive I want to keep the file on?

Sounds like more work for me....

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stevember
Originally posted by Tom Servo

That logfiles saved my ass multiple times.

I totally agree! I've got too hard drives partitioned the main important ones are using NTFS and I wouldn't swap back to FAT32 for anybody.

I would like to add there doesn't seem to be any significant speed improvement in either system, but NTFS is more secure and you can compress individual files without using things like DriveSpace.

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PabUK

Where are these logfiles kept? I have never seen them.

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Mordor

New info to think about:

Notice that applications sometimes offer additional or improved functionality on NTFS volumes. For example, when burning audio CDs, Windows Media? Player 8 uses hard links, so that it uses disk space twice as efficiently on NTFS compared to FAT file systems.

http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/storage/pcs...cstor.htm#WinXP

Mordor

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