Learn Windows XP Professional: Administration of Resources (Page 3) Page 3


NTFS is the preferred file system for all computers running Windows XP Professional. The version of NTFS that is in use on Windows XP Professional is called NTFS 5. (Windows 2000 uses version 5 as well.)

If you are running Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 or later, you can read basic volumes formatted by using NTFS 5 locally on dual boot systems. Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional can read NTFS 5 on both basic and dynamic volumes.

(Computers systems accessing either version of NTFS across networks are not affected. Version differences are usually only considered in local / dual boot situations.)

The following NTFS features are available under version 5:

  • File and Folder Permissions
  • Encryption
  • Disk Quotas
  • File Compression
  • Mounted Drives
  • Hard Links
  • Distributed Link Tracking
  • Sparse Files
  • Multiple Data Streams
  • POSIX Compliance
  • NTFS Change Journal
  • Indexing Service

Detailed information on these features can be found in both the Microsoft Windows XP Professional Resource Kit Documentation and online.

If you are running Windows XP Professional in a dual boot scenario with a system running Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 or later, most of the NTFS 5 features are not available. Most read and write operations are permitted provided they do not attempt to make use of most NTFS 5 features.

Issues that may occur under this type of configuration may include some of the following:

  • Windows NT4 cannot perform any operations that make use of reparse points

  • When you run Windows NT4 on a multiple-boot configuration that also runs Windows XP Professional, Windows NT4 ignores disk quotas implemented by Windows XP Professional

  • Windows NT4 cannot perform any operations on files encrypted by Windows XP Professional

  • Windows NT4 cannot perform any operations on sparse files

  • Windows NT4 ignores the change journal setup under Windows XP Professional

The NTFS file system can support drives up to 16 exabytes, in theory, but because partition tables on basic disks (disks that include a master boot record) only support partition sizes up to 2 terabytes, you would need to use dynamic volumes to create NTFS partitions over 2 terabytes in size.

Windows XP Professional manages dynamic volumes in a special database instead of in the partition table, so dynamic volumes are not subject to the 2-terabyte physical limit imposed by the partition table. This is why dynamic NTFS volumes can be as large as the maximum volume size supported by NTFS.

This article was originally published on Jun 3, 2002

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