NTFS or FAT32 Which one for me? Help!!

I need your advice...

Plan to put a new seagate 200gb internal drive into an external enclosure.

when i go to format this drive, should i use Fat32 or Ntfs? Why?

I am the only user of this computer. don't need to worry about other users.

i am running windows xp sp2 with an AMD sempron 3200+

thanks,

burt
14 answers Last reply
More about ntfs fat32 help
  1. NTFS is the better choice. Better security and file handling.
  2. Can't do fat even if you wanted to unless you don't mind a shit load of partitions or use linux, straight from technet:

    Windows XP Professional formats FAT32 volumes up to 32 GB regardless of cluster size. To format volumes larger than 32 GB, you must use NTFS. However, Windows XP Professional can mount FAT32 volumes larger than 32 GB that were created by other operating systems

    Plus fat32 only has one fat table, NTFS has multiple, with larger capacity and thus most likely way more files, if the fat table corrupts, your life will suck, ntfs will auto repair the table from one of it's copies thus loosing only the file being written when it had the error.

    Check this out for all the gritty details:

    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/reskit/c13621675.mspx

    In other words? NTFS! Or Use Ext3 with linux and HSF+ with Macs. HSF+ and Ext3 are journaling (correct me about the HSF one, not 100% sure) which from what I can tell provides a similar (better) version of NTFS' multiple fat tables.

    Edit: check this out too, important 4gig file size limit on fat32:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table
  3. hi Michaelahess,

    I am using windows xp NOT xp professional. Is there any difference in your previous post?


    thanks, burt
  4. Forget FAT32 - although there is not only one copy of the FAT (there are 2), it is easily corrupted; NTFS is much better in this area, especially on large volumes. However, slicing it up in smaller partitions could be a good idea, depending on what you want to make of it.

    It's true that you could format it using Linux, and probably be able to mount it even when using XP Home, however cluster size would be such a killer that you'd waste disk space by the truckload (at least 64kb cluster size). Not to say about instability accessing this drive... And you wouldn't be able to go over the 4GB filesize barrier.
  5. * Michaelahess

    What the hell are you talking about? Fat 32 can handle way more space than any current drive (or PC Raid array) can hold.

    The reasons to go with NTFS are that it is faster, more flexible, more secure and can be managed better. It also avoids the 4GB file size barrier.

    The only reason to use FAT32 is if you think that you will need to attatch this drive to a system that has a pre Win2k OS on it or Linux.

    *Butski

    To answer your last question, it doesn't matter what version of XP you have thay all supoport the same File Systems.
  6. FAT32 can handle any drive size right now - however, most drivers have been tested with sub-64 kb cluster sizes, and are, thus, unreliable at best on high capacity drives. NTFS can handle the same sizes, and has some advanced functionalities that make it more reliable than FAT32.

    Now, I hear there are several ext2 drivers in development for WinNT4/5.x, maybe you'd like to have a look at them...

    Note: Ext2/ext3 is the most common filesystem used in Linux systems. It is more or less on par with NTFS.
  7. Quote:
    * Michaelahess

    What the hell are you talking about? Fat 32 can handle way more space than any current drive (or PC Raid array) can hold.

    The reasons to go with NTFS are that it is faster, more flexible, more secure and can be managed better. It also avoids the 4GB file size barrier.


    What the 'hell' he is talking about is that Windows XP (which the guy is using) will NOT let you format a drive to FAT32 when its over a certain size (not sure if its 32gb or 128gb off the top of my head) - there is no need to get like that Aragorn, especially when he was right.

    If he was to attach it to a 98OSR2 machine and format it as a 200gb drive, then attach it to the XP machine, XP could read it. (he cant simply boot from a 98 boot disk and fdisk/format it as hes using it in an external enclosure and probably wont have DOS drivers for it)

    XP however, WILL NOT let him format it as FAT32 unless he splits it into multiple smaller partitions.

    FAT32 is a horible system anyway, Even if you want to use 98, or even Windows ME (Multiple Errors) then there are utilities to allow them to read NTFS drives and I would *STILL* go with NTFS.
  8. True they support the same file systems but when you install Win XP Pro it will only let you format the drive to NTFS. Not that it really has anything to do with this post, just a clarification :P
  9. I don't think WinXP home would let you format it as FAT32 on install either, you might as well drop the 'pro'...
  10. Quote:
    I don't think WinXP home would let you format it as FAT32 on install either, you might as well drop the 'pro'...


    I thought it could, but its been a good 3 years since I've dealth with XP Home so you could very well be right.
  11. Thank you :)
  12. On a slightly different take:

    Strangely, I had trouble installing windows XP yesterday: having fried a Gigabyte K8N51GMF-9 I got a new motherboard (Asus this time), put my rig together and pushed my long unused power button...

    Linux went along with it without even a hiccup (dynamically changed sound module on first load, loaded Firewire instantly... I had a fully functional Linux system on first boot) but WinXP decided it couldn't find NTLDR.

    I had mistakenly disabled LBA support in BIOS, and no way to reboot that partition... Thus, reinstall (3 times) until I found out that on my Hitachi SATA2 drive, if Windows is installed on an NTFS partition without the chipset driver installed, it can't boot!

    So I had to install on a FAT32 partition, install drivers updates etc., reboot, use CONVERT (in DOS prompt) to convert from FAT32 to NTFS, to have it finally work.

    Some people say Linux is hard to install and doesn't support many hardware: HAH!
  13. dude what are u talking bout Fat 16 is the best go format fat and install floppy version of win 95 with dos 5.0
  14. You can't install Win95 and DOS 5: Win95 is Dos 7.0 + Windows 4.0, and Win95 OSR2 had complete FAT32 support.

    No, I'm not talking Windows NT 4 - revise your classics, you just got yourself an F- mark.
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