Have you ever formatted a hard drive, SD card, or USB Flash Drive? If yes, then you have seen that it asks you to choose a file format. This is the file system that will be used for storing, managing, and organizing the files stored in that storage device. Difference between NTFS and FAT32 which one is a better file format and how? To know the answers, go through the whole article.
Different Types of File System
Files system is nothing but the system that manages the files you stored in the storage like HDD, SSD, or microSD. Mixing up these filesystems can cause various unrecognized errors.
What is the NTFS file system?
NTFS stands for New Technology File System. This is the file system that is used by the Windows operating system to store, organize, and find the files you stored on a hard disk. This file system allows file compression. You may have explored .zip or .rar file types. This system also allows you to restrict access to crucial files or data on your hard disk.
But how does NTFS work? The file you stored first gets divided into partitions that are available on your hard disk. The operating system tracks the files stored in the hard disk. The files actually are divided into a lot of little files. Click here to learn more about how to format a USB drive.
What is FAT File System?
The File Allocation Table or FAT is another file system used by the operating system to store, organize, and find the files you stored on the hard drives just like the NTFS file system. But it is older than the previous one and supported by the older and the newer operating system and devices.
Same as the NTFS system, the files are divided into smaller files which are called clusters in both the systems. The size of the cluster is very little compared to the size in the NTFS file system.
It is very common to hear the term FAT32. But what is FAT32 and why this is very popular among different file systems? From the name, you must have already guessed that this is nothing but a class of the FAT file system. This can be said as the versatile format of the FAT file system which is used by almost all kinds of storage devices such as Hard Disk, SSD, SD card, MicroSD card, etc. FAT stands for File Allocation Table and the 32 means the cluster size is 32 bits.
NTFS vs FAT32
Here, we are describing the difference between NTFS and FAT32 in terms of size and speed along with the general difference between them. There’s another major filesystem named exFAT.
Difference in Terms of File Size
NTFS vs FAT32 which one gives better performance in terms of file size? Both of them are file systems used by the storage devices for managing and organizing the files stored in the device. NTFS is the latest version compared to the FAT32 system. They differ in file size limits. You can only store files less than 4GB in the FAT32 system because it cannot work with a file size of more than 4GB. But NTFS can do that. So, if you have a file system that uses NTFS format then you can store a large file like HD video that has a size more than 4GB.
The NTFS file system supports volumes of more than 2TB. But in the case of the FAT system, the maximum volume you can get is 2TB. But both of the systems have their pros and cons.
Difference in Terms of Speed
Both the file systems are different in terms of file size and partition size. So, it is not uncommon that the file transfer rate is different in the NTFS and FAT32 file systems. NTFS vs FAT32 which one is better in terms of speed? In the benchmark test, the NTFS formatted hard drives achieved a faster data transfer rate than the FAT32 formatted drives. But it also depends on the drive technology that means whether the storage device is SSD, or HDD, or an SD card.
Both the file systems are widely used nowadays. But they have many differences. The differences between NTFS and FAT32 system are given below:
- File Structure: FAT32 is simple while NTFS is more complex in design.
- File size and support: In FAT32, a file name can contain a maximum of 83 characters while in NTFS, the count can be 255. 4GB or more sized files cannot be stored or managed by the FAT32 file system but in NTFS, 16TB file size is supported. In the FAT32 file system, the maximum partition size is the only 2TB. But NTFS can support hundreds of terabytes.
- Security: NTFS is way more secure than the FAT32 system. NTFS features encryption while FAT32 doesn’t.
- Speed: Files can be accessed in a shorter time in NTFS than the FAT32 file system.
- Compression: As NTFS is newer than the FAT32 system, it provides some special features which are not available in the FAT32 file system. NTFS features journaling, file compression which is not provided by the FAT32 file system.
- Compatibility: FAT32 is more compatible than NTFS. FAT32 is supported by the older version of an operating system like DOS, and Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc. But NTFS is widely used in Windows operating system.
As NTFS is newer than the FAT file system, more features are provided by the NTFS file system. NTFS provides more reliability, security, access control than the FAT32 system. But both the systems have their own pros and cons. So, we hope the difference between NTFS and FAT32 and which one to choose during formatting? now you know the answer. For more information, if you want to know how to format an SD Card safely, find it here.