Recently I was told that NTFS was the way to go when formatting my Windows hard drive but I don’t understand why. Could you explain why it’s better than FAT32?"
Chin C. R. - London, UK
FAT32 is a pretty antiquated filesystem. It was great for smaller (< 8GB) partitions, and in fact may still be faster than NTFS for partitions of that size, but the only reason you’d really want to keep your drive formatted FAT32 would be if you plan on dual-booting with Windows 95, 98, or SE (none of which can recognize an NTFS-formatted drive).
Windows 2000, XP, and 2003 Server can all recognize NTFS. Let me go through a few of NTFS’s advantages over FAT32. First and foremost, it’s much more reliable, and can recover from disk errors more readily than FAT32 can. Additionally, it supports partitions up to 16 TB in size, where FAT32 maxes out at 32 GB! Just in case 16 TB wasn’t enough space for you, NTFS also offers native compression and quota management, and uses smaller cluster sizes than FAT32, which saves space as well. Finally, NTFS allows for security permissions, which lets you protect each file or folder with access permissions specific to that file or folder.
So really, there are very few reasons why you would want to use FAT32 over NTFS.
Hope this helps!