NTFS vs FAT32... who wins?



Ok.. which is better FAT32 or NTFS? Which is faster.. more reliable.. etc. Can windows 98 Read a hard drive that has NTFS? Thanks.. later
- Mike


9 Dec 2001
I think it's generally accepted that NTFS is superior, especially for larger hard drives, and there are utilities out there that will let 9x access NTFS partitions. The only reason i've stuck with Fat32 is that i've been using it for so long and have become used to it.

ta ta



OSNN Senior Addict
25 Dec 2001
I also have heard NTFS is better, but I too have stayed with FAT32 because I am used to it. The only thing I am "scared" of is what happens when I want to reformat the drive or access files from DOS in the event I can't boot to XP and want to grab a few files before I format? Will there be NTFS restrictions preventing me from doing what I want?

I also have heard that some games may not run on NTFS. But since I now run win98 for games only, that isn't a real concern anymore. But, I would like to be able to access my XP files from 98 as well as Linux. Anyone know how that works?


NTFS is far more stable and faster than Fat32.

Fat32 uses alot more system memory to run it's applications or anything else for that matter.

Another advantage of using NTFS is the way it organises it file system which uses less space then Fat32.

With the advent of XP you can now run every program or game that has been made and has made developers write tighter code and produce better drivers for there end products in fear of losing consumers.


NTFS is more secure, but I prefer FAT32. FAT 32 is noticably faster on my systems and it is compatible with Win 9X. My 2 cent worth.


My understanding is that NTFS was really made for servers and is more secure and stable, less likely to be corrupt. Fat32 is supposed to be a little fster. I stick with fat for the same reason mentioned earlier, I can easily access the HDD from a dos boot disk to copy files if my OS goes south.


NTFS or FAT 32

Why do you have the need to boot from DOS with a floppy when all you need is to make a repair installation. All your settings as well as your configuration will be restored along with corrupt files repaired and reinstalled. You never need to get into DOS unless you are running a dual boot with two or more OS's. I have just 12 Gigs of HD and is running on NTFS. There is no difference in speed, and all my games are working alright. With NTFS I have not reformatted for over 3 months. Contrary to this I had formatted my HD atleast every forthnight with FAT 32. Can anyone contradict this ?


OSNN Senior Addict
25 Dec 2001
I just thought I'd put in my 2 cents:

After viewing a number of posts about NTFS vs. FAT32, I thought I'd give NTFS a try. To give both filesystems their fair trial, they both were fresh installs with exactly the same software installed. Well, I found it was more trouble than it was worth. Reasons:

1: Multi OS boot: I have Win98, XP, and Linux on one drive. The other 2 OS's don't let me access the NTFS partition without a fair bit of tweaking or third party software. FAT32 mounts all by itself in Linux (Mandrake 8.1), and 98 sees XP under FAT32, so grabbing files is a breeze.

2: Speed: It wasn't VERY noticeable, but I did perceive a slight increase in application speed with FAT32. Maybe its because I am biased towards FAT32, but thats my opinion.

3: Security: My PC is on a 2 PC peer-to-peer network with no Internet sharing (both PCs use dial-up 56k AOL independently), so security is not a concern. I am not arguing NTFS is more secure, I just don't need it.

4: Reliability: I guess I would need to run both filesystems for an extended period of time, but I still have a 2.5 gig drive (WD) formatted as FAT32 that still works great.

5: Filesystem efficiency: I know NTFS wastes less space due to more optimized cluster size, but I have 2 fairly large drives, so space isn't a real concern of mine either.

So, to sum up: If you need security or a more efficient filesystem, go ahead with NTFS, otherwise FAT32 works "well enough" for general use. Again, these are my opinions.

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