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Is it worth the stress to format and change to NTFS? (Will take 2 weeks to restore the 10TB of data)

  • Yes, it's worth it

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • No, exFAT will be fine in your case

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Over the past 2 weeks I copied 10TB of files to my new external 10TB HDD.
But now I realized, that I did a mistake: I trusted the manufacturer, and kept the default filesystem - exFAT.

Well, I didn't know much about NTFS vs. exFAT, I just knew that both can get the job done, and both are ok when using, but when I researched more, I realized that NTFS is by far the superior filesystem, if used only on Windows.

I plan to use this HDD as 1 big partition, full of files. It will be a read-only disk, and I will keep it always on the same Windows computer.
I plan to use it like this for 5 up to 10 years.
As I said, it is currently exFAT, and I spent 2 weeks copying the 10TB all to there. I can format it and change it to NTFS, but it will take at least 2 weeks again.

Now you know my situation. I tend to tell myself "exFAT is ok, just keep it as it is" - but honestly, I worry that I will regret this one day. This is why I ask you guys for your opinions on what to do, and if it's worth the work now.

My question is: Will it be worth formatting and copying 10TB again for 2 weeks? Or will it be ok on exFAT?


EDIT: Oh boy, yes it is. It saved me 4TB of space and the HDD mechanically works much more "calm", and even has now all benefits of NTFS.
 

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you can change file system without losing data but there is always a risk.

  • Click on start
  • Open Command Prompt Window
  • Execute chkdsk h: /f and hit Enter; here h is the letter of the drive to undergo conversion. This command checks the drives for errors and fixes them automatically
  • Now execute Convert H: /FS: NTFS and press Enter
  • The command prompt will start the conversion process and after a few minutes, CMD will say that conversion was successful
  • Finally, you can make sure of file system is whether changed or not by checking properties of that drive
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So, will it be worth the conversion?
Will I even have any benefit from journaling? Because I will use the HDD as only-read drive, which means there will never be new files written on, or deleted from the drive.
It will be written one time, and then stay like it.
The other features, such as decryption etc. I anyway don't plan to use.

My question was less about NTFS vs. exFAT in general, because the winner is obvious.
My question was more about "is it worth to have all this stress of re-formatting, in my case?"..


you can change file system without losing data but there is always a risk.
Will it be worth the risk, or is exFAT ok in my case? Are benefits of NTFS > risks of conversion?
 

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the risk is up to you. I cannot make the decision for you. I done a conversion years ago without any issues. If you want to learn about it, there are plenty of sites out there that can help you. Just do a search.

for more info about the file systems see

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I didn't ask for a decision, just for an opinion 😅
But your informations are very helpful in making my own opinion.

I know all these things about FAT32, exFAT, NTFS now.
But I lack the knowledge if these benefits of NTFS even apply in my case, because all this journaling etc seems just to be useful for a person which uses the HDD not so passively like me.
In my passive way of using it, I don't know if these benefits even are to consider.

My standpoint is, that I in general would use NTFS, but now that I already put all my data on it (and it took 14 days), I really think about keeping the exFAT. Especially because I don't see the benefits of NTFS applying in my case, or are they?
 

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then let me put it this way, if it does everything you need it to do, and you are happy with the results, why change it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It does everything that I need it to do, but I want it to do everything I need it to do for a long time..
I was reading all those simplified statements like "íf you want to keep your data go NTFS, if you want to lose your data go exFAT" and things like "NTFS is better because exFAT is a constant risk of data loss".
Also very often I read "NEVER use exFAT on HDD, only use it on flash memory" - again, without further reason why.

They never go more specific in their statements on what they mean with "data loss".
Do they mean, losing data when writing? Or do they mean losing data like, it just vanishes for no reason from the HDD?
They never go more specific, and comments like these exists thousands, in every comment section and in every forum. All they say "omg exFAT is so bad, I lost my data so many times because of it".

This is what made me feel very unsafe. Because, even if I have a good backup, I don't want to end up just losing data by vanishing overnight, without realizing.
 

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Well, I didn't ask for a decision, just for an opinion 😅
:confused: What good will that do? Everyone has one.

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Advantages of the NTFS system
Here are the advantages/benefits of the NTFS system:

  • You can back up the boot sector.
  • Allows you to set disk quotas format volumes up to 2TB.
  • You can use the NTFS file system with Mac OS x and Linux operating systems.
  • This file system helps you to minimize the number of accesses to find a file.
  • It supports large files, and it nearly has no realistic partition size limit.
  • Allows the user to set file permissions and encryption as a file system with higher security.
  • Restores the consistency of the file system by using its log file and checkpoint information.
  • It helps you to compress files, folders, or the whole drive when they are running out of disk space.
  • Uses a change journal to help restore information quickly if power failure or other system problems occur.
  • Enables users to set disk quotas, limiting the number of space users can consume.
  • No realistic file-size or partition size limits.
Disadvantages of the NTFS file system
  • NTFS file system is not applicable for MS-DOS, Windows 95, and Windows 98 systems.
  • The NTFS file system is slow with a small disk size.
Source: FAT32 vs exFAT vs NTFS: What's the Difference?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Everyone has one.
A more qualified opinion than mine, at least 😅

The advantages of NTFS would literally be just some extra space to me (because of compression), as it seems.
Because all that other stuff will not be touched by me. It seems like exFAT would be fine for my passive way of using the HDD.

That being said, some extra space is always nice and I will still think about reformatting to NTFS, in case I need more space.


Now, let's say I will convert to NTFS by the command - Will I be able to chose the allocation unit size?
And when done, will it automatically calculate the new file sizes? (I mean "size on disk"-sizes)

And is it even possible to convert from exFAT to NTFS by command if the HDD is nearly full?
Like, there is nearly no space left at all. From 10TB only 800GB are free.
 

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It does everything that I need it to do, but I want it to do everything I need it to do for a long time..
I was reading all those simplified statements like "íf you want to keep your data go NTFS, if you want to lose your data go exFAT" and things like "NTFS is better because exFAT is a constant risk of data loss".
Also very often I read "NEVER use exFAT on HDD, only use it on flash memory" - again, without further reason why.

They never go more specific in their statements on what they mean with "data loss".
Do they mean, losing data when writing? Or do they mean losing data like, it just vanishes for no reason from the HDD?
They never go more specific, and comments like these exists thousands, in every comment section and in every forum. All they say "omg exFAT is so bad, I lost my data so many times because of it".

This is what made me feel very unsafe. Because, even if I have a good backup, I don't want to end up just losing data by vanishing overnight, without realizing.
you have been given sources, you have been given opinions, you have been given alternatives, there will always be a risk no matter what you do. It is now up to you because nobody here will tell you what you are wanting to hear. They would be wrong to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
you have been given sources, you have been given opinions, you have been given alternatives, there will always be a risk no matter what you do. It is now up to you because nobody here will tell you what you are wanting to hear. They would be wrong to do so.
Yes, and this all indeed helped me a lot. Thank you!
I have now much more informations to think about.
 

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Two more advantages of NTFS:

NTFS helps minimize the number of accesses in order to find a file, which saves wear and tear on the drive.

NTFS keeps a change journal to help restore information quickly if power failure or other system problems occur..

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I'm not sure the CONVERT command will work for changing from exFAT to NTFS.
 

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Make your own decision
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quick update:
I made my decision to format it and change it to NTFS. I think "default" allocation unit size should be fine.

Give me 2 weeks, and I will post my conclusion if it was worth it or not.
Maybe it will help someone to make their decision in a similar situation as mine.

I am planning to format soon, so is there anything to do else? Just format and begin to copy all files back on the HDD?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I need to annoy you again.
I was sure that "default" allocation unit size will be fine, but there is still a question about it.

I have on the HDD for example 10.000 big files, and about 100.000 small files.
(Big files means, files from 10MB up to 5GB / Small files means, files from a few bytes up to some few KB)

So my question is, should I stay with "default" allocation unit size, which is 4KB I think. Or should I choose a bigger one?
I would go for the default 4KB, but I read about the downsides of a smaller allocation unit size.
Well, the downside of "fragmentation" is no problem, because as I mentioned, the drive will be read-only all the time.
And slower speed is also not a problem for me.

But I also read, that when there is a smaller allocation unit size, the filesystem has more "seeking" to do.
So my question about this, is: Will in long term a smaller allocation unit size wear out my HDD more quickly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah, this was my thought too after I realized that I wasted extremely much space.

But I still am more concerned about long-life of my HDD rather than about the free space.
This is why I asked if it will wear out the HDD more quickly if it has a smaller allocation unit size..
 

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No. Think about it this way, if you were to say store a 1KB file in a 16KB cluster (allocation unit), then the platter would have to turn further before the hard drive would be able to access the next file. AND, you would be totally wasting 15KB of space at the end of each 100,000 files.

So, Microsoft's decision to use a 4KB default is probably an excellent choice.
 
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