Difference Between FAT32 and NTFS

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In this post, we will understand the difference between FAT32 and NTFS

NT File System (NTFS)

  • It is a modern file system, used by default by Windows OS.

  • The system drive is formatted with NTFS file system when Windows OS is installed.

  • It has file size and partition size limits which are very high, hence there is no chance of user running up against it.

  • It was first seen in consumer versions of Windows (XP).

  • It was originally known as Windows NT.

  • It has modern features that can’t be found on FAT32 and exFAT.

  • It supports file permissions for security.

  • It comes with a change journal that helps recover from errors quickly (in case of a computer crash).

  • It provides shadow copies for backups, encryption, disk quota limits, hard links.

  • It is compatible with all Windows versions.

  • It is read-only compatible with Mac OS.

  • It may not be completely compatible with Linux distributions.

  • It doesn’t have any realistic file-size or partition size limits.


  • It is known as File Allocation Table 32.

  • It is the oldest of the file system available to Windows.

  • It was introduced in 1995 to replace older FAT16 systems used by MS-DOS and Windows 3.

  • The individual files on FAT32 drive can’t be more than 4 GB in size.

  • A FAT32 partition would have to be less than 8 TB, which is considered a limitation, unless a very high capacity drive is required.

  • Modern versions of Windows can’t use a drive that has been formatted with FAT32.

  • They require NTFS.

  • It is compatible with all versions of Windows, Mac, Linux, game consoles, and basically anything that comes with a USB port.

  • It has a 4 GB maximum file size, and 8 TB maximum partition size limitation.

Updated on 16-Apr-2021 07:39:28