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FAT32 vs. NTFS

Educative Answers Team

FAT32 vs. NTFS

FAT32 and NTFS are file system protocols that determine how files are managed on a memory drive. In this shot, we will draw comparisons between the two major file systems. When we talk about FAT32, we will also talk about exFAT to get a complete understanding of the current landscape of file systems.

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FAT32 is the oldest standard still in use.

exFAT, a derivation of the FAT32 standard, is the newest of the three.


NTFS is a modern file system used as a default by Windows.

FAT32 is compatible with just about every operating system.

exFAT is supported by more devices than NFTS. All Windows and modern Mac OS versions support it. Additional software might be required for Linux as older devices may not support it.

NTFS is compatible with Windows and Xbox. It is, however, read-only on the Mac and some Linux distributions. Most other devices probably do not support NTFS.

FAT32 has limits to the maximum file size (4 GB) and maximum drive size (8 TB).

No realistic limitations exist for exFAT.

No realistic limitations exist for NTFS.

You will not want to use FAT32 for any of your internal drives because of its file size limitations. Additionally, FAT32 is lightweight and does not support advanced features such as permissions handling or crash protection.

exFAT is lightweight by design and does not contain many features or overheads in NTFS. For this reason, exFAT is ideal for external drives.

NTFS is ideal for internal drives in Windows because it supports many features for this operation.

NTFS supports file permissions for security, a change journal that can help to quickly recover errors if your computer crashes, shadow copies for backups, encryption, disk quota limits, hard links, etc. These features are crucial for internal disk drives.


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