NTFS or FAT32 on 10gb HD?

ender_at used Ask the Experts™
I am thinking of installing Windows XP on a 10GB HD.

Should I use FAT32 or NTFS for my file system?

I have heard that FAT32 is faster than NTFS but is more prone to fragmentation.

Does the performace drop significatly when using NTFS?
Also, when using NTFS will my computer be less prone to crashing?

I will be using this HardDrive for my OS and all of my applications. I wish to use the FileSystem that is best suited for me.

any advice would be helpful.

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Basically it doesn't matetr which file system you use.  NTFS is more secure however FAT32 is easier to work on.  So it depends on what you plan to use your system for.  If you are going to have sensitive data on your PC then you might want to use NTFS, if it's just a regular PC for at home then FAT32 would be what I would recommend.

Top Expert 2009

I believe this page will answer your questions:

My advice is to go with FAT32, for a couple or reasons...no. 1 being you can always change to NTFS but you can not go backwards. Also, if you ever have hard drive problems, NTFS are a pain to deal with. I have worked on several COMPAQ, DELL, etc that have NTFS formatting and had Windows XP problems and they were a pain to fix. The ones that have FAT32 are easier to deal with. However, this is just an opinion :}

Moving away from the File level security that NTFS offers...

NTFS will be your performance winner in this case.  Not only is the XP Kernal optimized for NTFS partitions, but the cluster size of 4k that NTFS uses is much more effecient than FAT or FAT32.

The two utilitarian drawbacks are:

As stated above, if a problem does occur with NTFS, it is definitely a bit more difficult to rescue your data.  It's mostly access to the proper tools as NTFS recovery tools tend to be fewer and more expensive then FAT/FAT32 only utilities.

NTFS does NOT like to be full, particularly on the system drive and if you are constantly changing the contents.  Flat file storage is one thing, but say if you had a 4GB partition with the OS on it, I would probably leave it to FAT32 as chances are you will sooner than later fill that drive.

Unless you plan on filling this drive with data, put it to NTFS as even with the MFT overhead, it is more effecient than FAT32 on larger partitions.

FAT is easier to work with if anything goes wrong!
I always make one or two partitions in fat and the rest in NTFS (just in case!)
With a small HD in suggest only to use one partition in FAT.

But it is your choise!

Ps. Speedchanges are hardly recognizeable ...

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