Cloudeight Information Avenue: Which is best? NTFS or FAT32?

NTFS vs. FAT32: I am planning to install Windows XP, so which should I choose? 
Why do I care and why are you showing me this anyway?  What did Cloudeight choose?

(New English Interpretation!)

  • You cannot format a volume larger than 32 gigabytes (GB) in size using the FAT32 file system during the Windows XP installation process. Windows XP can mount and support FAT32 volumes larger than 32 GB (subject to the other limits), but you cannot create a FAT32 volume larger than 32 GB by using the Format tool during Setup. If you need to format a volume that is larger than 32 GB, use the NTFS file system to format it. Another option is to start from a Microsoft Windows 98 or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me) Startup disk and use the Format tool included on the disk.   

    Interpretation: If you have a hard drive over 40 gig in size, be certain to choose the option NTFS.
  • Clusters cannot be 64 kilobytes (KB) or larger. If clusters are 64 KB or larger, some programs (such as Setup programs) may incorrectly calculate disk space.

    English Interpretation:  Your hard drive may not appear to be as big as it really is when using FAT32; so when given a choice, use NTFS.
  • Windows XP supports three file systems for fixed disks: FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS. It is recommended that you use NTFS with Windows XP because of its advanced performance, security, and reliability features.

    English Interpretation:  When given a choice, choose NTFS since it is more reliable and secure!
  • Some older programs that were not written for Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 may exhibit slow performance after you convert the FAT32 file system to NTFS. This behavior does not occur on a clean partition of NTFS.

    English Interpretation:  It is best to format your hard drive and choose the NTFS file system, instead of converting an existing drive from NTFS without a format.
  • If you run other Windows operating systems on your computer in addition to Windows XP, note the following issues:  Only Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP have full access to files on an NTFS volume. Also, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), Windows 98 Second Edition and earlier, and MS-DOS cannot access files on an NTFS volume.

    English Interpretation: If you set up a dual boot system, when you boot into your old Win Me/98/95 you will not be able to see or access any of the files on the drive that is NTFS. You will be able to see and  access files on the Me/98/95 drive when booting into XP.  If you don't understand what dual-boot is, or if you do not have very specific reasons to set up a dual boot system, don't do it!!  If you do have a dual boot system, and you want to be able to access files on a FAT32 drive, don't use NTFS
  • What is Microsoft's recommendation on this? NTFS is the recommended file system for computers running the Microsoft Windows XP and Windows .NET Server operating systems.  NTFS offers many end-user benefits related to functionality, security, stability, availability, reliability, and performanceNTFS, which was originally introduced with Microsoft Windows NTŪ 3.1, has always provided advanced file system features such as security, transacted operations, large volumes, and better performance on large volumes. Such capabilities are not available on either FAT16 or FAT32

    English Interpretation: Microsoft highly recommends you choose NTFS
  • Boot time with FAT32 is increased in hard drives larger then 32 GB because of the time required to read all of the FAT structure. This must be done to calculate the amount of free space when the volume is mounted. Read/write performance with FAT32 is affected because the file system must determine the free space on the disk through the small views of the massive FAT structure. This leads to inefficiencies in file allocation.

    English Interpretation: If your hard drive is larger then 32 GB, use NTFS for best performance.


Ok, that is allot of information! What is all this about choices between NTFS and FAT 32 anyway??

During Setup, Windows XP gives you the choice of the Windows NT file system (NTFS) or one of the file allocation table file systems (FAT or FAT32). NTFS is the recommended file system with Windows XP. It offers better reliability, security, and support for hard disks over 32 gigabytes. If you want to multiboot with an older version of Windows, choose FAT 32. You can convert to NTFS after Windows XP installation, but you cannot convert back to FAT32.

English Interpretation: If the above answer to the question is not very clear to you, if you are planning on purchasing XP, we recommend you format your hard drive to the NTFS option when given the choice during your setup of XP and DO NOT choose a dual boot system! Be sure to back up any files you want to save, such as your documents, saved files, pictures, etc. as they will be lost if you choose to format.

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What did Cloudeight choose? All personal and business computers for Cloudeight are setup using NTFS. Our kids systems are all set up with NTFS too!

English Interpretation: We choose NTFS; you should choose whatever works best for you!

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