What is the Difference Between NTFS, FAT, FAT32 & exFAT File Systems?

Alan

And me from Sweden
#1
file-system.png

Well NTFS supports large file and volume size whereas FAT dosnt but lets poke around a little.

FAT
(File Allocation Table) - The FAT file system was first introduced in the days of MS-DOS way back in 1981. The purpose of the File Allocation Table is to provide the mapping between clusters – the basic unit of logical storage on a disk at the operating system level – and the physical location of data in terms of cylinders, tracks and sectors – the form of addressing used by the drive’s hardware controller.

FAT32 (File Allocation Table 32) - FAT32 was introduced in Windows 95 to replace the older FAT16 file system used in MS-DOS and Windows 3. The FAT32 file system’s age has advantages and disadvantages. The big advantages is that because it’s so old, FAT32 is the de-facto standard. Flash drives often come formatted with FAT32 for maximum compatibility across not just modern computers, but other devices like game consoles and anything with a USB port.
Limitations come with that age, however. Individual files on a FAT32 drive can’t be over 4 GB in size—that’s the maximum. A FAT32 partition must also be less than 8 TB, which admittedly is less of a limitation unless you’re using super-high-capacity drives.

exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) - The exFAT file system was introduced in 2006 and was added to older versions of Windows with updates to Windows XP and Windows Vista. exFAT is optimized for flash drives—designed to be a lightweight file system like FAT32, but without the extra features and over head of NTFS and without the limitations of FAT32.

NTFS (New Technology File System) - NTFS is the modern file system Windows likes to use by default. When you install Windows, it formats your system drive with the NTFS file system. NTFS has file size and partition size limits that are so theoretically huge you won’t run up against them. NTFS first appeared in consumer versions of Windows with Windows XP, though it originally debuted with Windows NT. NTFS is packed with modern features not available to FAT32 and exFAT. NTFS supports file permissions for security, a change journal that can help quickly recover errors if your computer crashes, shadow copies for backups, encryption, disk quota limits, hard links, and various other features. Many of these are crucial for an operating system drive—especially file permissions.
 

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