Identical hard drive file systems

335 pts.
Tags:
External hard drive
FAT and NTFS
File systems
NTFS
Storage
My laptop hard drive has NFTS and my external hard drive and flash drive memory stick have the FAT system. Would it be better if all were the same? How would one go about changing the file system and would that be beneficiary to the overall function?
ASKED: July 6, 2010  3:04 PM
UPDATED: July 7, 2010  7:56 PM

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Too many factors:

Here’s a good article to help (not much) decipher the difference in need.

http://ixbtlabs.com/articles/ntfs/index3.html

Conclusion for link above:

FAT highs:
The effective work requires few of RAM.
Fast work with small and average directories.
The disc implements less movements of the heads (as compared with NTFS).
The effective work on slow discs.
FAT lows:
Quick performance decrease with the fragmentation going up (only for FAT32).
Difficulty in access to big files (more than 10% of the disc space).
Very slow work with directories containing huge amount of files.

NTFS highs:
Fragmentation does not influence the system performance (the work might became worse as far as data access is concerned).
Complicity of the structure of directories and the number of files do not affect the performance.
Quick access to the required file fragment (i.e. editing of big .wav files).
Very quick access to small files (several hundreds bytes) – the whole file is located in the same place as the system data (MFT recording).
NTFS lows:
The memory size mustn’t be less than 64 MBytes.
Slow discs and controllers without Bus Mastering slows the system performance down tremendously.
The work with average-size directories is quite difficult, since they are fragmented.
The disc working for a long time with 80% – 90% of its space occupied shows low performance.
Remember, that the RAM size is the chief factor influencing the system performance. In case of 64-96 MBytes both NTFS and FAT are equal. If you are using only an OS and simplest applications, FAT32 might turn to be better on the PCs with bigger size of memory.
NTFS is still a system for future. On the typical game system it won’t show the brilliant operating speed. The main advantage is that the complicity of directory structure, disc size, fragmentation do not have an influence on the system performance. In FAT, on the contrary, all these factors slow the operating speed down.
FAT 32 is the better choice for simple users’ systems. As for graphics workstations, office computers with thousands of documents and moreover file-servers, NTFS shows higher performance.

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  • Patzo
    You get improved security features and fault tolerance with NTFS. I would back up the flash drive, then format it as NTFS and copy the data back to the flash.
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  • Pjb0222
    I recommend removable media be FAT (FAT32) as it is a more portable file system (recognized by more OS [Windows, OSX, Linux...]). One consideration for removable media is if you store large (4 GB +) files. FAT32 has a maximum file size limit of less than 4 GB. In the case of external storage for large (multimedia) files I recommend NTFS. Generally people working with these types of files have some technical understanding and will properly dismount the volume prior to removing it from the system (a requirement for NTFS). While there are potential performance or fault tolerance for NTFS over FAT there are other considerations as well. The ability to access information off-line and the availability of recovery tools for each file system. Additionally the portability of the file system for multiple OSs may impact your decision. Another decision point is total disk size as FAT32 has a smaller max partition than NTFS. A final decision point is Microsoft limits the size of a FAT32 partition you may create with native windows tools (this is an artificial limit imposed on MS tools by MS). Personally, I use NTFS for system (internal) disks because of the fault tolerance and security capabilities NTFS provides.
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