What Is NTFS and FAT32

They are both partition file systems widely used in Microsoft operating systems.

  • New Technology File System. A file system for formatting computer hard disks so they can store information. NTFS provides several improvement over earlier FAT file system, including file and folder permissions, encryption, and file compression.

  • File Allocation Table. A file system used by MS-DOS and other Windows operating systems to organize and manage files. It is a data structure that Windows creates when you format a volume by using FAT or FAT32 file system.

Compare NTFS and FAT32

What are the differences between FAT32 and NTFS ? View details below

NTFS file system FAT32 file system
Support OS

Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10

Windows Server 2000, 2003, 2008 (r2), 2011, 2012(r2), 2016, 2019

Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10

Windows Server 2000, 2003, 2008 (r2), 2011, 2012(r2), 2016, 2019

Windows 95, 98, ME; DOS (V7 & above)

Linux, Mac OS X, Android; Windows phone

Support maximum partition size


256TB (format by third party software)


2TB (format by third party software)

Support maximum file size 64GB 4GB
  • FAT32 Advantages

    Some users convert ntfs back to fat32 for there are advantages of fat32 over ntfs:
    1. Stronger compatibility. Support old operating systems that NTFS does not, including Windows 95, 98, ME, DOS (V7 & above), Linux, Mac OS X, Android, Windows phone.
    2. Support devices that NTFS does not, such as XBOX 360, XBOX ONE, PS3, PS4, MP3 player, etc. external media.
  • NTFS Advantages

    As the most advanced file system type, NTFS has many advantages over former FAT32 file system, so most users convert FAT32 to NTFS.
    1. Support larger partition and file size.
    2. Support partition, folder and file compression.
    3. More efficient disk space management.
    4. Retrievable file system.
    5. Access permission for shared source, folder and file enables higher security.
    6. Reasonable system sources allocation improves system security.
    7. Windows 2000/XP based on NTFS file system runs faster than that of FAT32.

How to Choose, NTFS or FAT32?

You should take the followings into consideration:

  • The computer is single system (FAT32) or multiple systems (NTFS);
  • The quantity and capacity of local disks;
  • Whether security is considered or not.