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  1. #1
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    NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    For my Setup, Duel Bootable, Exact Copies WinXP Pro, I would like some opinions on what you think would be the best File System and why.
    I have two Internal Cooled 40GB Maxtors @7200Rpm and One External USB 30GB Maxtor, using the Fat32 File System. I use a Program called DDCRYPT{Encryption with Password Protection} for files or folders I want to hide from prying eyes.
    I am running a Pent111 933 overclocked @ 1050 MHZ on a Shuttle AV18E with VIA Pro 133 Chipset, 768 MB SDRam, Sony 52x/24x/52x CDRW, Sony 40x/16x DVD Rom, Mad Dog ATI 7200 64DDR Video Card, Verizon ADSL and so on and so forth.
    I have been getting conflicting reports on what File System I should use. My understanding from what I have gathered is with the 40 GB Drives I have, Fat32 is faster and more stable and less prone to Fragmentation.
    What do you think guys. I am a open minded Aquarius. So shoot. Just aim at my bullet proof vest, cause if ya nick me and draw blood I'm gonna be @#$!%. <img src=/S/blackteeth.gif border=0 alt=blackteeth width=20 height=20>

  2. #2
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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    FAT32 is (marginally) faster because there is less overhead for the file system. However, it does not use the space on your drive as efficiently as NTFS if your partitions are large in size. You end up with more slack, or wasted cluster space.

    Fragmentation? I wonder if anyone has ever done a real comparison. I would not think there would be much difference that anyone could notice in terms of real-world performance. Fragmentation is more a product of how you use your computer and the sizes of the files you typically work with. If you do video editing, for example, the files are large, and there is less chance that you have a contiguous space for that file to be placed. When that file cannot be written in one full segment, it becomes fragmented. But if you work with Word documents and other smaller docs, fragmentation is not going to be as significant a factor.

    I generally decide to use FAT32 on partitions that are about 10GB or smaller, and NTFS for anything much beyond that size. I do not feel the need for the extra features that NTFS provides in a home environment. At the office....NTFS, all the way. NTFS is less likely to corrupt data because it is a journaling file system, where FAT32 is not.

    How does that strike your Aquarian nature?
    -Mark

  3. #3
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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    What is your thoughts on my system{see above} and using Fat32 or NTFS.

  4. #4
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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    Think about your needs. Do you need to access the data from a DOS prompt? NTFS is invisible to a DOS boot disk, so you lose the ability to manipulate things without Windows up and running if you go NTFS. If you dual boot, Windows 98 cannot read NTFS. If you do not have that issue, no reason to keep FAT32 lingering around. The real performance benefits to FAT32 do not come into play until the partitions are small.

    Were it me, I think I would stick with NTFS if you have not partitioned the drives into smaller segments, simply because it uses the drive space better and it is easier to recover from disasters. If you lose power or have some strange error pop up in the middle of something you are working on, you have the advantage of the file system being able to recover itself better (because of the journaling).

    Zat help?
    -Mark

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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    <hr>Were it me, I think I would stick with NTFS <hr>

    I am using Fat32 right now though. Can I change over to NTFS without problems? And will Drive Copy work the same as it always has to where I can keep exact copies as I always have? Also you say that NTFS doesn't use DOS. So how do you install with a Bootable Disk if it doesn't recognize DOS or a floppy?

  6. #6
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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    You can convert to NTFS, but I would actually avoid doing that. When you convert, the system tries to create the components of NTFS: the MFT (Master File Table) being the most important element. It normally resides at the front of the partition, but when you convert it can become a fragmented mess. I find it is usually better to set up a fresh install with NTFS rather than convert afterwards.

    Yes, you can use Drive Copy just like you always have. Double check to make sure your version supports NTFS, though, so you have no reason to be <img src=/w3timages/censored.gif alt=censored border=0> at me. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    You can boot with a floppy, but you cannot see NTFS partitions if the floppy is a DOS disk. There are third party tools that allow you to boot to DOS and access NTFS volumes, but you can also boot with your Windows CD and use the recovery console from there if you have an emergency. It looks like DOS but it ain't. Still, it allows you to revive a dead system and do some other things with a command line. Realistically, how often do you boot to DOS and fool around anyway? I can't tell you the last time I really had a need to do it, and I break my stuff all the time!
    -Mark

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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    What is NTFS5?

  8. #8
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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    It's the current revision of the NTFS file system. NTFS 4 was in Windows NT 4.0, 5 came about with Windows 2000 and added some functionality such as quotas, encryption and a few other tweaks.
    -Mark

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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    I found this to be some good reading FAT32 or NTFS: Making the Choice By the Elder Geek

  10. #10
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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    Excellent reference! Thanks for sharing!
    -Mark

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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    There isn't a straight quick answer to which system is faster, because it depends upon the variables in your machine like the size of the particular folder and the location of the file in the folder, file permissions, and other variables. NTFS is in general faster on a fragmented file because of its Beta Tree structure:

    Also:

    www.ntfs.com

    NTFS vs. FAT

    Scroll and checkout the hyperlinks for many discussions on the relative merits of each. They also give you permission to reprint the articles on their site FWTW.

    NTFS vs. FAT: Which Is Right For You? Microsoft XP Site

    FAT & NTFS File Systems in Windows XP: Jim Eschelman's AUMHA.ORG

    Windows and .Net Magazine NTFS vs. FAT Instant Doc #2744 October 1996

    PC Guide NTFS vs. FAT

    Thread XTremePC

    Extreme Tech Discussion: FAT vs. NTFS

    Thread 2: NTFS vs. Fat

    Extreme Tech: Top Tip: Does NTFS Fragment more than FAT?

    SMBP

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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    Mark,

    Could you explain:
    <hr>journaling file system<hr>
    Thanks,
    Regards,
    PaulB

  14. #14
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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    A journaling file system is one that keeps metadata to avoid file corruption and errors. Metadata is data about...data. A good example is a library catalog card, which contains data about the nature and location of the data in the book referred to by the card. In the context of NTFS and other file systems, this means information such as the type of file, icons, the location of the data or the names of the files, and other things of that nature. Every aspect of the file is contained in this metadata description.

    If the file system is interrupted (perhaps by power loss) while it is writing the metadata or the file itself, the two items do not match. This leaves the file system in an inconsistent state. The metadata must match the file contents. This is where journaling comes in. The journaling keeps a record of transactions taking place on the disk, so that the file system does not need to perform a full scan to ensure consistency when something like a power loss occurs. The journal keeps track of whether the changes in metadata or the file have been fully committed to disk. If there is an inconsistency, the file system can read the journal and fix any problems that occurred.

    This does not mean that it is error free, of course. But it greatly enhances the reliability of the file system, because it checks itself as data is written. Scandisk in older versions of Windows would check the entire drive to repair problems, which is time consuming, but NTFS and other journaling file systems have little need for this, because they can check the journal and go back to the last known good position and pick up from there.

    Does that help, or is it now clear as mud? <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

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    Re: NTFS or Fat32 (WinXp Pro)

    Thanks for all the "between the lines" info I picked up on partitions and file systems in these posts.

    SMBP

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