NTFS File System Frequently Asked Questions Part II

Q: Is it possible to convert a FAT32 Hard Drive to NTFS without losing all data on the drive? I like to change from FAT32 to NTFS, my operating system is Windows XP PRO, how can I do that? Without the lost of my programs?

A: Standard Windows utility that is called CONVERT serves this purpose

Just go to the Command Prompt and execute the command:

	C:\> CONVERT  C:  /fs:ntfs

Where C: is a name of the drive you want to convert.

After machine re-boot conversion process will start and you’ll have your FAT32 converted to NTFS without of data loss.

Q: How does NTFS compared to FAT32 in Windows XP, and which is faster?

A: NTFS has much more built-in features than FAT, so generally it is a bit slower.

However it depends on many factors such as cluster size, average file size, etc.

For example, NTFS can keep small files inside MFT entry, so if the file size is less than cluster size, most likely it will be accessed much faster on NTFS than on FAT.

Generally speaking the performance of NTFS on large volumes is higher than performance of FAT32. NTFS performance on small volumes is lower than performance of FAT/FAT32.

Q: How can I copy files from a hard drive formatted to NTFS, to a FAT32 hard drive ?

A: You probably asking about Windows NT that does not support FAT32.

There are third party FAT32 drivers for NTFS, or you can use FREE NTFS Reader to copy files in DOS environment. Just make sure that your DOS supports FAT32. You can use Bootable Floppy Creator to prepare such a floppy containing DOS and NTFS Reader for DOS.

Q: Which version of NTFS is installed on my Windows XP system ?

A: The following versions are currently available:

  • NTFS v1.2 on Windows NT
  • NTFS v3.0 on Windows 2000
  • NTFS v3.1 on Windows XP
Q: When I use the following command “FORMAT” on a volume (Windows XP) what is really written on this volume ?

A: Clean Master File Table (MFT) containing some system records is created for the volume.

Q: I am using a 249 megabyte drive as a backup drive on my xp system. I have it formatted in NTFS and compressed, yet the size of the drive is still the same as before I compressed it. Why?

A: Actual disk size cannot be changed. By applying compressed attribute for the volume you just ordered operating system to try to compress any object that will be placed there.

If object that is placed onto the volume can be compressed, operating system compresses it and it takes less space on the drive than uncompressed one. Thus more free space is left on the drive for other data.

Q: The files I place on the compressed drive are only compressed from 1.15MB to 1.14 MB , is it normal this should be only 100kb of compression per MB?

A: Compression on NTFS uses modified LZ77 algorithm. It is very fast but not always effective.

If works pretty well for the files/documents containing a number of repeating sequences of symbols. Example of such files types: text files, RTF, BMP, HTML files, etc…

For other file types, such as binaries, GIF, JPG, ZIP files, etc. this compression algorithm is not useful so that these files might not be compressed at all.

Q: Could I read file from my pc running windows XP with NTFS5 file system, from a machine under windows 95 on the same network?

A: Surely you can do it, if you configure Networking properly, i.e. create Network Share on WinXP for the folder where file is located and assign proper access rights to the share.

After performing these procedures if you can lookup WinXP machine across the Network you’ll be able to see this network share from Windows 95 and access files inside.

Q: Which is better? NTFS or NTFS5?

A: As for advances in technologies the latest versions are usually better than previous ones.

In addition to all NTFS features, NTFS5 has support for Encryption, Disk Quotas, Sparse Files, Reparse Points, Volume Mount Points.