FAT32 vs NTFS: Difference and Comparison

File systems are crucial for operating on computing devices. Consequently, it becomes important to choose the right file system. FAT32 and NTFS are two file systems that have significant differences.

FAT32 and NTFS vary on the grounds of their full form, meaning, functions, and practical applications. 

Key Takeaways

  1. FAT32 is an older file system with limited file size and partition size capabilities, while NTFS supports much larger files and partitions.
  2. NTFS offers better security features, such as file encryption and access permissions, which FAT32 lacks.
  3. NTFS supports advanced features, like disk quotas and file compression, while FAT32 does not offer these options.

FAT32 vs NTFS 

The difference between FAT32 and NTFS is that FAT32 is suitable for smaller-capacity flash memory devices. On the other hand, NTFS is ideal for large-capacity disks. FAT32 is a 32-bit file version of FAT. The reading and writing speed of FAT32 is less than that of NTFS. 

FAT32 vs NTFS

FAT is a file system which has an application for personal computers. FAT32 initially came into use in 1977 on floppy disks. Furthermore, it was adapted for use on hard disks and other devices. 

In addition, the hard disk size supported by FAT32 is 2 Gigabytes. Moreover, the cluster size found in the system is 4 KB in size. 

NTFS is a proprietary journaling file system developed by Microsoft. NTFS came into being in July 1993.  NTFS employs the NTFS Log to record metadata changes to the volume. The journaling feature, thus, ensures its consistency.

In addition, NTFS functions to compress files. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFAT32NTFS
Full FormFAT refers to the File Allocation Table. NTFS refers to the New Technology File System. 
Function FAT32 is a 32 bit file version of FAT. NTFS  is a proprietary journaling file system developed by Microsoft. 
Storage File Size FAT32 is unable to store individual files larger than 4 GB. NTFS is able to store files that are more than 4 GB. 
Reading and Writing Size The reading and writing speed of FAT32 is less than that of NTFS. The reading and writing speed of NTFS is more than that of FAT32. 
Ideal For FAT32 is suitable for smaller capacity flash memory devices. NTFS is ideal for large capacity disks.

What is FAT32?

FAT refers to the File Allocation Table. It is a file system which has an application for personal computers. FAT32 initially came into use in 1977 on floppy disks. Furthermore, it was adapted for use on hard disks and other devices.

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Other sources of use include flash memory cards, USB flash drives, super-floppies and memory cards. 

FAT32 is a 32-bit version of FAT. The FAT32 system has an application on Windows. Furthermore, it was later developed for use in the NTFS File System. FAT32 offers an increased storage capacity to users.

Therefore, it is relatively more advanced than the previous models of FAT. FAT32 is also ideal for its reduced cluster waste by employing small cluster sizes. 

By definition, FAT32 is a simplistic file system operating on the Windows Operating System. Today, it no longer functions as the default file system for Microsoft Windows Computers.

In addition, the hard disk size supported by FAT32 is 2 Gigabytes. Moreover, the cluster size found in the system is 4 KB in size. 

One prominent feature of FAT32 is its ability to support drive sizes up to 2 terabytes. As it uses small clusters, FAT32 is size efficient. It also allows the users to enter unlimited root folders into the drive.

In addition, FAT32 allows for a resizing of FAT32 partitions. Thus, there are several ideal characteristics of the system.

What is NTFS?

NTFS refers to the New Technology File System. It is a proprietary journaling file system developed by Microsoft. NTFS came into being in July 1993. Its main function is to serve as the default file system of the Windows NT Family.

Several technical improvements in NTFS have made it more efficient than the previous models. 

Apart from Microsoft Windows, NTFS also functions as a filesystem for Linux and BSD. Both Linux and BSD provide free and open-source NTFS drivers. NTFS employs the NTFS Log to record metadata changes to the volume.

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The journaling feature, thus, ensures its consistency. In addition, NTFS functions to compress files. 

The file compression feature of NTFS allows users to enjoy more storage space. For safety reasons, NTFS allows users to place permission on files and folders. The security provision ensures that there is no misuse of information by a third party. 

NFTS is also a reliable filesystem, allowing users to restore data in case of power loss or computer shutdown.

Thus, NTFS serves as an ideal system for carrying out transactions, ensuring end-to-end encryption, and the provision for auditing. In addition, it facilitates increased security opportunities.

However, the most important feature is the ability to journal and compress files. Thus, NTFS offers several benefits. 

Main Differences Between FAT32 and NTFS 

  1. FAT refers to the File Allocation Table. In contrast, NTFS refers to the New Technology File System. 
  2. FAT32 is a 32-bit file version of FAT. On the other hand, NTFS is a proprietary journaling file system developed by Microsoft.
  3. FAT32 is unable to store individual files larger than 4 GB. On the other hand, NTFS is able to store files that are more than 4 GB. 
  4. The reading and writing speed of FAT32 is less than that of NTFS. 
  5. FAT32 is suitable for smaller-capacity flash memory devices. On the other hand, NTFS is ideal for large-capacity disks. 
References
  1. https://techdifferences.com/difference-between-fat32-and-ntfs.html 

Last Updated : 13 February, 2024

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22 thoughts on “FAT32 vs NTFS: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article is quite lengthy and filled with unnecessary technical jargon that could be simplified. Needs improvement.

    Reply
  2. There are some really important differences between FAT32 and NTFS that need to be considered when choosing a file system. The article provides a very clear comparison.

    Reply
    • Indeed, Matthews. The article does a great job at highlighting the key differences between the two file systems.

      Reply
  3. The article was great, but I found the tone to be very formal. I would have preferred a more conversational writing style.

    Reply
  4. It’s impressive how NTFS offers file encryption and access permissions, while FAT32 lacks those features. NTFS seems to be the most advanced system.

    Reply
  5. The limitations of FAT32 in terms of file size and partition size capabilities are quite evident. NTFS seems to be the more efficient and advanced choice.

    Reply
  6. I appreciate the compilation of comprehensive information about FAT32 and NTFS. The comparison table was particularly helpful.

    Reply
    • I couldn’t agree more, Bennett. It’s impressive how NTFS is suitable for large-capacity disks and offers file compression.

      Reply
  7. Impressive article that clearly explains the differences between FAT32 and NTFS. It’s an important read for those dealing with file systems.

    Reply
  8. FAT32 and NTFS have significant differences and it’s great to see a comprehensive comparison of the two file systems in the article.

    Reply

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