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
English Interpretation: If you have a hard drive over 40 gig in size, be certain to choose the
- 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
- 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
- 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 performance. NTFS, 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
- 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!
Interpretation: We choose NTFS; you should choose whatever works best for you!
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