fat32 vs ntfs

What is a file system and the difference between FAT32, NTFS and exFAT

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Hello, guys, I am here to give more information on the file system. It is a process that manages the storing and retriving of your data, usually from HDD.

You might have observed this while formatting your pen drive, or portable hard disk. You see 3 option when you are about to format your PD or HDD. There are 3 types of file system you see in the image below NTFS, FAT32 which is the default in win7 and exFAT. Let’s see all the 3 in details.

file system

Fat32 (File Allocation Table)

It is the most common file system used. It is an older file system created in 1977 by Microsoft. FAT32 has been the default file system for floppy drives and hard drives. It supports single file up to 4GB in size and volumes up to 2TB in size. For example, if you had a large video file over 4GB in size, you cannot save it FAT32. And if you have 3TB drive you cannot format in single FAT32 partition.

This is the format window for FAT32

fat32 file system

NTFS (New Technology File System)

A new file system which was founded in 1993 by Microsoft. It has higher theoretical limits. It is more secure and has a better performance compared to the FAT32. You can convert any old FAT32 to NTFS through convert command or by formatting the external device by selecting the NTFS file system.

This is the format window for NTFS

ntfs and exfat

exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)

It is a replacement for both NTFS and FAT32. It is used where there is a size limit in FAT32 is unacceptable and where NTFS is not a feasible solution due to data structure overhead. Introduced in 2006 by Microsoft it is a replacement for FAT32. And all new flash memory such as USB and SD cards support exFAT

This is the format window for exFAT

fat32 and exfat

  • Compatibility is the main issue with NTFS, so you should use FAT32 mostly in your pen drives and SD cards. FAT32 is compatible with most operating systems.
  • Mac OS X now has full read support for NTFS drives, but Macs can’t write to NTFS drives by default. This requires additional software or tweaks.
  • Linux before was not able to read/write in NTFS.
  • DVD Players, Smart TVs, Printers, Digital Cameras, Media Players, Smartphones, Anything With a USB Port or SD Card Slot, these can only read FAT32, some might read NTFS but not for sure, so FAT32 is advised for all.
  • If you want your PD or SD to work on any other platform other than Windows, Mac’s or Linux definitely use FAT32.

So for pen drive and memory cards, FAT32 is a better file system, unless you have a file over 4gb to copy, and NTFS is good for Hard disk with size more than 3TB and exFAT is not mostly used file system though it is better but not supported everywhere.

About Post Author

Girish

Hello Guys I am a website developer by profession but is always keen on learning new things. I have been investing in Mutual fund, stock market for the past few years because of which I have gained a good knowledge. I started my entrepreneur journey in 2019 which lead me to learn more things as I am moving forward. I always love to share whatever I learn. Always had a craze for cars from my childhood, which inspired me to start this website.
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