Difference between NTFS and NTFS Quick

The file systems NTFS (New Technology File System) and NTFS Quick are both used in Windows operating systems, however they differ in terms of formatting and performance.

  • NTFS is a modern and powerful file system designed by Microsoft to replace the outdated FAT (File Allocation Table) file system.

  • NTFS Quick Format is a formatting option offered when creating a new partition or formatting an existing one with NTFS.

Read this article to find out more about NTFS and NTFS Quick and how they are different from each other.

What is NTFS?

NTFS (New Technology File System) is a proprietary file system developed by Microsoft and widely used in succeeding versions of Windows, including Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10. Due to its superior features, performance, and durability over its predecessor, FAT (File Allocation Table), it has become the default file system for Windows.

Key Features of NTFS

  • File and Folder Permissions − Access control lists (ACLs) are supported by NTFS and allow administrators to specify fine-grained permissions on files and folders. This means that you can control who has access to, changes to, deletes, or takes ownership of individual files and folders. In multi-user systems, ACLs improve safety and help in the implementation of a strong permission structure.

  • Journaling − NTFS uses a journaling system to track file system changes before they are fully committed. All file actions and metadata changes, such as file creation, modification, or deletion, are recorded in the journal. In the event of an unexpected system shutdown or power outage, the file system can use the journal to quickly recover and ensure data consistency.

  • Large File and Partition Support − When compared to FAT file systems, NTFS dramatically increases the maximum file and partition sizes. On NTFS, the theoretical maximum file size is 16 exabytes (EB), and the maximum partition size is 256 terabytes (TB). As a result, NTFS is well suited to modern storage requirements, where larger files and larger discs are common.

  • File Compression and Encryption − File compression is included in NTFS, allowing you to save disc space by compressing individual files or entire directories. Furthermore, NTFS allows you to encrypt files and folders using the Windows Encrypting File System (EFS), which improves data security by protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access.

What is NTFS Quick?

NTFS Quick Format is a formatting option offered by Windows operating systems when creating a new partition or formatting an existing one using the NTFS (New Technology File System) file system. It is designed to be a faster approach to formatting a disc than the standard (full) NTFS format.

Key Features of NTFS Quick

  • Purpose and Speed − The fundamental goal of a Quick Format is to quickly initialize the file system structures on the disc. In contrast to a full format, it does not do a thorough wipe or erase of the disc. Rather, it designates the disc as NTFS and creates the required data structures, preparing it for usage with NTFS. It is substantially faster than a complete format since it avoids the process of overwriting data.

  • File System Structures − During a Quick Format, essential file system structures such as the Master File Table (MFT), the root directory, and other information are produced. The Master File Table is the central database that maintains track of all files and directories on the disc, whereas the root directory is the top-level directory that organizes other directories and files.

  • Data Security − It is important to note that NTFS Quick Format does not erase or wipe the existing data on the disc. The data from the previous file system (if any) is preserved. The file system identifies all clusters on the disc as accessible for usage, thus resetting the file system without losing the data. As a result, it may still be recovered using specialized data recovery tools until new data overwrites the existing data.

Difference between NTFS and NTFS Quick

The following table highlights the major differences between NTFS and NTFS Quick −



NTFS Quick

Formatting Speed



Data Recovery

Harder to recover erased data

Data remnants may be recoverable




Use Cases

New disk, full format required

Reformatting, reinstalling OS




File and Folder Permissions



Data Erasure

Overwrites data on disk

Doesn't erase existing data

File System Structures

Fully initializes structures

Initializes essential structures

Disk Quotas

Supports disk quotas for allocation control

No impact on disk quotas

Security for Sensitive Data

Can securely erase sensitive data with full format

Not suitable for securely erasing sensitive data


In conclusion, NTFS is an advanced file system used in Windows operating systems that includes features such as privileges compression, and journaling. NTFS Quick Format is a faster technique to format a disc with NTFS, but it does not safely clean data.

Updated on: 17-Aug-2023


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