What's the difference between NTFS and FAT32?

I want to know simply the main difference between them ?

I Heard that the difference is cluster , file size issues .... and the NTFS is better .... But on my drive i have partition fat32 and the other NTFS and i didn't see any difference between them ?

Also it said that the FAT32 take into 2 GB space only , is that true ?

Please enlighten me...

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    XP can read or write to a FAT32 drive of any size, but will only let you format up to 32 GB.

    NTFS allows you to set security up on your folders, for instance if you are on a network or have mulitple people using your computer, you can set up permissions so that not everyone can see your files.

    Also, on FAT32,. you cannot have a file bigger then 4 GB, which means, if you rip DVDs to your drive, you're out of luck on your FAT32 drive.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hi. NTFS means New Technology File System and FAT32 mean File Allocation Table 32. NTFS is used by NT based operating systems such as Windows NT, 2000 Xp, 2003, Vista and so on. FAT32 doesn't support drives larger than 10gb but if u have a partition of like 40 gb or above then u can still format it using fat32 through DOS. You can't format a hard disk larger than 30gb I think with FAT32 using Windows Xp setup. There is a lot of performance difference. If u have installed Windows on a partition which has FAT32 then u may notice how slow ur computer is and how many applications crash as compared to a computer which has Windows drive on a NTFS partition. NTFS also has better security. Hope I helped.

    Good Luck!

  • 1 decade ago

    Unless you need to support other operating systems that cannot read NTFS, just use it for all of your Windows 2000+ computers. It offers much better security (in that it has it) than previous Microsoft file systems.

    > Also it said that the FAT32 take into 2 GB space only , is that > true ?

    You're limited to 4GB files (not partitions, this is for an individual file), which is a problem if you work with large video files.

    Sam L.

    Customer Service

    Solid Documents, LLC



  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    NTFS is what XP chooses to use NTFS (New Technology Filing System). Its a new type of technology that stores clusters and bites of information on a hard drive. This method is usually quicker.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table 32 Method), this is an older method created by Windows 98. Larger clusters, not as fast as searching. About the FAT32 question and 2GB, no thats not true.

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  • 4 years ago

    Short answer is that they all have their own limitations. They are file systems that work by storing files on the hard drive in a specific way. FAT and FAT32 work by placing the files on the sectors on the hard drive and when you need to retrieve it, it has an address to the next piece of the file. This is why its slow and it has a limitation of 4GB for a file. This is why back before NTFS you had to defrag your computer a lot to put the files sequentially or it would slow down a lot. NTFS is a lot better in that it provides file security and increases the limit of the 4GB. This file system could ruin a usb flash drive though. It works by placing a master file table and points to the location of the file pieces. It can then optimize its routine to grab the file since the hard drive still has to spin but it can pick the pieces out of order. There is exFAT now which increase the file size limit from FAT32, but all in all works the same and is meant for usb flash drives or portable hard drives.

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