What is NTFS file system?

The New Technology File System (NTFS), sometimes known as the NT file system, is used by the Windows NT operating system to store and retrieve files from hard drives. In 1993, this file system was added to later iterations of the Windows operating system.

With features including multi-streaming, data recovery, fault tolerance, security, file systems, ACLs, multi-user access control, and UNICODE names, NTFS is a reliable and high-performance journaling file system. Furthermore, it provides interoperability with several other operating systems.

Continue reading if you want to understand more about NTFS!


Where else is NTFS File System Used?

The main file system employed by Microsoft’s Windows Server operating systems is NTFS. Several other Microsoft operating systems, including Windows 7, 8, 10, XP, Vista, NT, and 2000, also make use of it. Other operating systems like BSD and Linux support NTFS, however Mac OS only offers read-only support for it.

On a storage drive or device, an operating system typically establishes and maintains a file system. The file system controls how data files are stored, named, updated, and accessed. It also organizes data into files. The operating system makes a distinction between the disc type and the file system. There is also a distributed file system (DFS), which allows for local access to files that are scattered over several servers. DFS provides redundancy in the event of a storage failure while allowing various users to share files and data across a network.

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How is NTFS used?

Microsoft Windows and removable storage devices both use the NTFS file name, organizing, and storage system. The file system also can encrypt and decode data, files, and directories. The formatting of numerous storage devices, such as USBs, HDDs, micro SD cards, and SSDs, is made easier by NTFS. Because NTFS is compatible with self-recovering discs, it can handle massive and extensive storage requirements.

Partitions are generated as the primary means of dividing up the physical space on an HDD or SSD during initialization or formatting. The operating system keeps track of all stored files within each partition. Then, one or more-disc spaces or clusters of equal size are created on the HDD to hold these files. The cluster size is determined by NTFS and might be anywhere between 512 bytes and 64 KB.

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What are the Main Features of NTFS?

The major characteristics of NTFS, the main file system used by Microsoft in Windows and Windows Server, are as follows:

  • The B-tree directory architecture, which efficiently tracks file clusters and enables effective sorting and organization.


  • File-level encryption, which permits the encryption of specific documents and directories. Full-disk encryption, which encrypts the entire drive rather than specific files, is different from this capability.


  • A journaling file system, which logs or journals system changes prior to writing them, enables earlier modifications to be undone in the event of an error or failure.


  • Volume Shadow Copy Service, which is used to backup files that are actively in use by backup tools and online backup services.


  • Transactional NTFS, which enables users to create programs without taking the chance of supporting modifications that could or might not function.


  • Access control lists, which give server administrators the power to regulate who has access to particular files.


  • Built-in file compression, which reduces file sizes to make more storage space available.


  • Natural file-naming practices, which permit larger file names and a variety of characters.


  • Support for 16 EB hard drives. Additionally, it works with Windows 8 and 10 as well as some recent Windows Server versions that handle single files up to 256 TB in size.


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NTFS vs. FAT: What’s the Difference?

NTFS and FAT differ from each other despite being created by Microsoft, and these variances may affect their compatibility, security, and flexibility. The following examines the distinctions between them to help you choose which file system to use because each has unique benefits and drawbacks.

Image Reference: FAT32 or NTFS? Which One Should You Choose?


Mistake Tolerance

In the event of a power outage or other fault, NTFS automatically repairs folders and files without alerting the user to the problem since it continually updates its log files. In contrast, FAT keeps two separate copies of the file allocation table as a backup in case there are any mistakes.



On local files and folders, security permissions can be set up in NTFS. In contrast, shared functions are used as a security element in FAT. As a result, while files exchanged via a network are secure, local access to them may expose them to risk.



FAT and NTFS can be converted, but not the other way around because NTFS is based on a secure protocol. You must first back up your data before formatting your disc with the proper technique if you want to switch from NTFS to FAT.



Since NTFS relies on partition compression, it is possible to individually compress files and directories without worrying about the system being sluggish.



NTFS is compatible with all versions of Windows, however Mac OS X has a read-only option. The opposite is true for FAT, which works with both Windows and Mac OS.


Why choose NTFS over FAT?

In addition to the advantages above, NTFS also has the advantage of allowing for resizing, which results in better space utilization. The exclusive to NTFS features of partition shrinking and extension are integrated by Microsoft. In contrast, Windows does not provide any resizing tools for FAT partitions, hence using a professional partition manager like MiniTool Partition Wizard for FAT is required.

A file may fill more than one cluster; however, a cluster can only hold one file in terms of space utilization. The division might save more space if the cluster size is modest. It is noteworthy that NTFS allows a wider variety of cluster sizes than FAT, and that the former’s clusters can be shrunk to a lower size, resulting in more effective use of the partition.

Unless you plan to format volumes that house various operating systems on the same machine, it looks that NTFS has become the default file system. NTFS is typically regarded as the best choice when only Windows OS is involved.


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