ntfs vs. fat32

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

OK, I've got a laptop that's ntfs formatted, and an external drive that
ntfs formatted, but my pc HD is FAT32. I don't notice any difference
between the systems but I'm wondering if I should reformat the pc to NTFS?
Can I just reformat the existing pc HD without losing all the data and
files on it? What if any advantage does NTFS really provide?

TIA

Paul.
10 answers Last reply
More about ntfs fat32
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    Try the internet:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=compare+NTFS+FAT32

    Modem Ani

    "Pdigmking" <PUdstrand@att.net> wrote in message
    news:Xns960F912B0534Pudstrandattnet@127.0.0.1...
    > OK, I've got a laptop that's ntfs formatted, and an external drive that
    > ntfs formatted, but my pc HD is FAT32. I don't notice any difference
    > between the systems but I'm wondering if I should reformat the pc to NTFS?
    > Can I just reformat the existing pc HD without losing all the data and
    > files on it? What if any advantage does NTFS really provide?
    >
    > TIA
    >
    > Paul.
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    "Pdigmking" wrote:

    > OK, I've got a laptop that's ntfs formatted, and an external drive that
    > ntfs formatted, but my pc HD is FAT32. I don't notice any difference
    > between the systems but I'm wondering if I should reformat the pc to NTFS?
    > Can I just reformat the existing pc HD without losing all the data and
    > files on it? What if any advantage does NTFS really provide?

    Yes, you should reformat your FAT32 HD to NTFS unless it contains another OS
    that runs only on FAT32, e.g. Windows 98. The differences have to do
    primarily with file system stability (error avoidance, detection, and
    recovery) and security (NTFS has security and privacy features that FAT32
    does not have), but if your HD is beyond a certain size, a NTFS drive will
    also be faster (it will never be slower). There is no reason whatsoever to
    keep FAT32 if the only OS on the drive is XP, and every reason to switch to
    NTFS.

    As for reformatting the HD to NTFS, XP has a utility under System Tools that
    will do this for you without wiping out your data. Before you jump the gun
    and do it, do some research on how to do it in a way that your cluster sizes
    are only 4 kb long. Maybe others here will chime in on how to do that (I
    have never ran this utility before; I know only that it exists). Or if all
    this makes you nervous, go out and get Partition Magic 8.0 or similar utility
    and have it do the conversion for you.

    Ken
  3. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    "Modem Ani" <notquinoas@notmyrealbox.com> wrote in
    news:OCdkciPIFHA.2976@TK2MSFTNGP15.phx.gbl:

    > Try the internet:
    > http://www.google.com/search?q=compare+NTFS+FAT32
    >
    > Modem Ani
    >
    > .
    >
    >

    Your a genius Ani, wish I'd thought of that. Wait, now I remember, yeah
    yeah I did goopgle NTFS vs. FAT32. Now I remember, I posted here to see if
    I could get any additional info, newsgoups are interactive, that's
    advantage. You cold google any topic you see here on this group.. but then
    why do we have newsgoups at all?

    Paul
  4. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    "=?Utf-8?B?S2VuIEdhcmRuZXI=?=" <KenGardner@discussions.microsoft.com>
    wrote in news:C1FC2E8A-1E9B-46E8-8FF1-40783F5DBFCE@microsoft.com:

    > "Pdigmking" wrote:
    >
    >> OK, I've got a laptop that's ntfs formatted, an...
    >
    > Yes, you should reformat your FAT32 HD to NTFS unless it contains
    > another OS that runs only on FAT32, e.g. Windows 98. The differences
    > have to do primarily with file system stability (error avoidance,
    > detection, and recovery) and security (NTFS has security and privacy
    > features that FAT32 does not have), but if your HD is beyond a certain
    > size, a NTFS drive will also be faster (it will never be slower).
    > There is no reason whatsoever to keep FAT32 if the only OS on the
    > drive is XP, and every reason to switch to NTFS.
    >
    > As for reformatting the HD to NTFS, XP has a utility under System
    > Tools that will do this for you without wiping out your data. Before
    > you jump the gun and do it, do some research on how to do it in a way
    > that your cluster sizes are only 4 kb long. Maybe others here will
    > chime in on how to do that (I have never ran this utility before; I
    > know only that it exists). Or if all this makes you nervous, go out
    > and get Partition Magic 8.0 or similar utility and have it do the
    > conversion for you.
    >
    > Ken

    Thanks Ken. See, the reason I ended up with FAT32 to begin with is I run
    a data base program, Alpha 4. That program didn't originally work with
    NTFS. Later versions of the program, like the one I have now, work with
    it just fine, but when I built my system, I didn't know that yet so I
    opted for Fat32 at the time. When I got my laptop, I loaded Alpha and it
    works just fine on an NTFS system. Now I think I'm having some system
    stability issues, and my previous look at the "internet" revealed that
    the NTFS is more stable format. But before I mess with it I appreciate
    some feedback from folks who know more than I do. There a big difference
    between running that conversion and re-formatting and and reloading all
    the programs so I'd like to have some idea what I'm getting into before I
    do it.

    Paul.
  5. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    "Pdigmking" wrote:

    > Thanks Ken. See, the reason I ended up with FAT32 to begin with is I run
    > a data base program, Alpha 4. That program didn't originally work with
    > NTFS. Later versions of the program, like the one I have now, work with
    > it just fine, but when I built my system, I didn't know that yet so I
    > opted for Fat32 at the time. When I got my laptop, I loaded Alpha and it
    > works just fine on an NTFS system. Now I think I'm having some system
    > stability issues, and my previous look at the "internet" revealed that
    > the NTFS is more stable format. But before I mess with it I appreciate
    > some feedback from folks who know more than I do. There a big difference
    > between running that conversion and re-formatting and and reloading all
    > the programs so I'd like to have some idea what I'm getting into before I
    > do it.

    If it was me, I would reformat the hard drive (using NTFS) and then reload
    programs and data. I always trust the clean-install approach over upgrading
    an OS or (in this case) converting a file system on the fly. It takes a bit
    more time in the beginning, but you also get the fresh start and resulting
    performance and stability gains of newly installed OS and software.

    In any event, you should find that all of your programs will run great on
    NTFS. But as long as you do the conversion right, i.e. whatever you need to
    do to get the 4 kb cluster size, you should be fine with the conversion as
    well.

    Ken
  6. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    "=?Utf-8?B?S2VuIEdhcmRuZXI=?=" <KenGardner@discussions.microsoft.com>
    wrote in news:53ED72CC-61B3-405F-A914-290181626F06@microsoft.com:

    >
    >
    > If it was me, I would reformat the hard drive (using NTFS) and then
    > reload programs and data. I always trust the clean-install approach
    > over upgrading an OS or (in this case) converting a file system on the
    > fly. It takes a bit more time in the beginning, but you also get the
    > fresh start and resulting performance and stability gains of newly
    > installed OS and software.
    >
    > In any event, you should find that all of your programs will run great
    > on NTFS. But as long as you do the conversion right, i.e. whatever
    > you need to do to get the 4 kb cluster size, you should be fine with
    > the conversion as well.
    >
    > Ken
    >

    Well, I figured I give the conversion a try. Worst that can happen is I
    have to reformat. So far so good, no problems to report.

    Thanks for you input,

    Paul.
  7. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 18:39:30 GMT, Pdigmking <PUdstrand@att.net> wrote:
    >"=?Utf-8?B?S2VuIEdhcmRuZXI=?=" <KenGardner@discussions.microsoft.com>

    >Well, I figured I give the conversion a try. Worst that can happen is I
    >have to reformat. So far so good, no problems to report.

    There are two downsides to converting from FAT32 to NTFS, as opposed
    to installing XP on NTFS:

    1) Appropriate security attributes are not set

    NTFS extends the usual file attributes to include fine-grained access
    control, as part of the OS's depth of security. When the OS is
    installed on NTFS, the installation process can set these
    appropriately. When it is installed on FATxx, the settings cannot be
    applied, so a subsequent conversion cannot apply them either.

    2) Possible 512-byte clusters

    This may or may not be a problem. It won't be a problem if the
    original partitioning and formatting was aware of NTFS's alignment
    needs; it may or may not be a problem otherwise. If the existing
    FATxx partition is not aligned the way NTFS would like, you would get
    tiny 512-byte clusters instead of the more desirable 4k clusters, and
    while this may be more space-efficient, it is s-l-o-w.

    http://cquirke.mvps.org/ntfs.htm covers the bigger picture of whether
    FATxx or NTFS is likely to suit your needs. What may be as important
    is whether you divide your HD into multiple volumes, and how these are
    sized; this also lets you choose NTFS for some and FATxx for others.


    >-------------------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
    Tip Of The Day:
    To disable the 'Tip of the Day' feature...
    >-------------------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
  8. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    "cquirke (MVP Windows shell/user)" <cquirkenews@nospam.mvps.org> wrote in
    news:4glm21l424i29e1p6hagnot3qmohvktrfj@4ax.com:

    > On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 18:39:30 GMT, Pdigmking <PUdstrand@att.net> wrote:
    >>"=?Utf-8?B?S2VuIEdhcmRuZXI=?=" <KenGardner@discussions.microsoft.com>
    >
    >>Well, I figured I give the conversion a try. Worst that can happen is
    I
    >>have to reformat. So far so good, no problems to report.
    >
    > There are two downsides to converting from FAT32 to NTFS, as opposed
    > to installing XP on NTFS:
    >
    > 1) Appropriate security attributes are not set
    >
    > NTFS extends the usual file attributes to include fine-grained access
    > control, as part of the OS's depth of security. When the OS is
    > installed on NTFS, the installation process can set these
    > appropriately. When it is installed on FATxx, the settings cannot be
    > applied, so a subsequent conversion cannot apply them either.
    >
    > 2) Possible 512-byte clusters
    >
    > This may or may not be a problem. It won't be a problem if the
    > original partitioning and formatting was aware of NTFS's alignment
    > needs; it may or may not be a problem otherwise. If the existing
    > FATxx partition is not aligned the way NTFS would like, you would get
    > tiny 512-byte clusters instead of the more desirable 4k clusters, and
    > while this may be more space-efficient, it is s-l-o-w.

    Yes, Ed has said the same thing. I had that in mind when I ran the
    conversion... but of course, since the options didn't pop-up for the
    monkey to punch a button I have no idea what size my clusters are. Maybe
    I'm cluster F*&%ed. He he. Any ways, now that I've gone and done this,
    how can I see what size my clusters are.. always nice to know after the
    fact. I'm not worried about security options, and so far the machine
    doesn't seem an slower.

    Paul.
  9. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 20:13:09 GMT, Pdigmking <PUdstrand@att.net> wrote:
    >"cquirke (MVP Windows shell/user)" <cquirkenews@nospam.mvps.org> wrote in

    >> There are two downsides to converting from FAT32 to NTFS, as opposed
    >> to installing XP on NTFS:
    >>
    >> 1) Appropriate security attributes are not set
    >> 2) Possible 512-byte clusters

    >Maybe I'm cluster F*&%ed. How can I see what size my clusters are.

    Hm, good question...
    - create a 1-byte file, rt-click, Properties; space occupied?
    - use "system info" type tools like AIDA32
    - try rt-click, Properties
    - try ChkDisk from a Cmd windows and see what it says

    >I'm not worried about security options

    What prompted you to convert to NTFS, then? Need for files over 2G?
    Desire for smaller clusters and less space wasteage? Possible
    performance gains? Peer pressure?

    Whatever the gains, you've lost the ability to use DOS mode as a
    platform from which you can formally scan for viruses, recover data,
    or do interactive file system repair using Scandisk.


    >--------------- ----- ---- --- -- - - -
    Never turn your back on an installer program
    >--------------- ----- ---- --- -- - - -
  10. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    "cquirke (MVP Windows shell/user)" <cquirkenews@nospam.mvps.org> wrote
    in news:k9qn21tgpquspdihif5j43npsr1cjmt4p4@4ax.com:


    >
    >>I'm not worried about security options
    >
    > What prompted you to convert to NTFS, then? Need for files over 2G?
    > Desire for smaller clusters and less space wasteage? Possible
    > performance gains? Peer pressure?
    >
    > Whatever the gains, you've lost the ability to use DOS mode as a
    > platform from which you can formally scan for viruses, recover data,
    > or do interactive file system repair using Scandisk.
    >
    >
    >>--------------- ----- ---- --- -- - - -
    > Never turn your back on an installer program
    >>--------------- ----- ---- --- -- - - -
    >

    I think I was having some performance issues. The system seemed to become
    unstable on occassion and I would have to reboot and run a file check.
    Also, all my other computers are NTFS so I figured consistency could hurt.
    I haven't used DOS mode to anything but a scandisk in fifteen years, but
    with my luck I'll need to it tomorrow eh. Looks like XP still has a
    scandisk utility however, but the reason I've not it for so long is the
    size of HDs these days. The last time I did on on a 40 gig drive it took
    something like 16 hours.

    Paul.
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