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Best File System (NTFS or FAT32) for USB External Hard Drive

41314 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Deleted090308
I just bought a Maxtor 5000LE that has 80GB storage capacity and uses USB 1.1/.20 to connect to the PC. It comes formatted with FAT32. I will be storing large .avi files on this (around 700MB each) and wanted to know what would be the best file systems as far as disk storage and performance. I imagine with USB 1.1 or even 2.0 the performance will be poor anyhow. But in terms of making the most out of the 80GB I have to work with is NTFS or FAT32 better? I don't care about file system security and I am not sure if compression would be helpful in this case. Thanks in advance for any feedback you can provide.
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Hi and welcome to the forum,

I would go with NTFS. You would have a more stable file system where in case one day you would want to do backups of it.
Fat 32 is hands down the best. There's so much more that can be done with it.
Yes FAT32 is good but it has its limitations. If your are running Win2000 or higher I believe you could only have a harddrive the size of 32g. Anything higher is unusable. So if you are using the 80g harddrive with Win2000, you would need to use NTFS to use the entire drive.
I'm running Win 2000 Advanced server on mine with a 80 gig and have Max. storage and I'm running in Fat 32.
How many partitions do you have on your drive?

Because I am pretty sure you could only use 32g/partition.
Also could you compress your drive in FAT32? And with what do you compress it with?

Because you cannot compress it with MS?
We could debate over this forever and have no outcome. But Nazzawuzza here is an article that might be helpful for your decision.;en-us;Q100108
Dude couldn't that have been placed in one post.. I'm running only one partition do to the fact I need all the memory on drive C that I can get. As for debate I'm not going to take the time for that unless you or someone else wants to cover my hourly rates. Anyway this post was asking for an opinion and I gave mine as to what I'd do. What works for me might not work for you. It's all a matter of who you talk to and how much they know.
I'm currently running two 120gig USB-2 drives with a single FAT32 logical drive configured, so it's clearly possible to do that with W2K. The only real issue is formatting the partition greater than 32gig with W2K, the solution is to use W9x or a 3rd party partitioning application.

When it comes to using the USB-2 drive, the advantage of FAT32 is that it's also compatible with other operating environments. The disadvantage is that the clusters are much larger than NTFS, and a single file can't be more than 4gig on a FAT32 volume. The file size comes into play if you want to use it for doing backups, don't ask me how I found this out. :)
hmm.. This is a hard question thats been in the tech world for awhile now, each camp is steadfast in their belief that their way is better .. There's no comprehensive test that proves one way or another which is best so ...

IMHO -- I like NTFS its a little faster on the larger volumes and has better file security features, NTFS is also optimized for the NT, Win2k and XP releases which means it will run a little better .. again its all my own opinion and is not backed up anywhere by fact ... I don't think .. :)

Anyone responding to this make sure to stick to topic not respond to my opinion or anyone else's so far, just respond NTFS or Fat32 and why please, if we want to start a file system debate thread ... go for it.;)
Okay now that everyone hase danced around the question that they've all commented on.... " Nuzzawuzza, what operating system are you going to use?"

NTFS is only viewable by NT, Win2k, and XP, it is stable and depending on the OS is capable of becoming one of several different types(Win2k allows for Simple, Spanned, Striped, Mirrored, and RAID5) all of which have their best served tasks.

Personally for performance purposes I recommend NTFS, but if you are going to use the USB on a different computer not running Win2k, NT, or XP it won't work.... so there goes portability, and if you aren't running Win2k, NT, or XP then you can't use NTFS... there goes functionality.... it all depends on what you need.

Welcome to TSF by the way! Hope these have helped :)
my dell pc went ape on me and my gf got me a acomdata hard drive thats 300gigs and i put it in fat 32 because it gave me the choice but dell mailed me a new windows cd that made it NTFS, anyways they work fine on XP but i have a ult vista i am going to install on the pc now, will the ult vista be able to read my acomdata hard drive in Fat 32??? or do i convert it over?? witch i dont know how to do because i do not want to lose any files i got now on it and i dont have the space on my pc to back it up. the box for the hard drive says it works with xp and mac os.

or would it be better to keep it xp
@Poro: Welcome to TSF. This thread hasn't been active since 2002. Please create your own thread to get help. And, Vista has no problems reading FAT32.
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