Learn Windows XP Professional: Administration of Resources (Page 4) Page 4

Default NTFS File System Cluster Sizes

Partition Size NTFS
7 MB-16 MB 512 bytes
17 MB-32 MB 512 bytes
33 MB-64 MB 512 bytes
65 MB-128 MB 512 bytes
129 MB-256 MB 512 bytes
257 MB-512 MB 512 bytes
513 MB-1,024 MB 1,024 bytes
1,025 MB-2 GB 2,048 bytes
2 GB-4 GB 4,096 bytes
4 GB-8 GB 4,096 bytes
8 GB-16 GB 4,096 bytes
16 GB-32 GB 4,096 bytes
32 GB-2 terabytes 4,096 bytes

In summary, the advantages of NTFS 5 are as follows:

  • NTFS uses standard transaction logging and recovery techniques. By using the log file and checkpoint information to automatically restore the consistency of the file system in the event of a failure, NTFS, for the most part, maintains the consistency of the data on the volume and the volume itself.

  • NTFS supports compression on volumes, folders, and files. Files that are compressed on an NTFS volume can be read and written by any Windows-based application without first being decompressed by another program. Decompression happens automatically (think of a ZIP utility on-the-fly) during the file read. The file is compressed again when it is closed or saved.

  • NTFS does not restrict the number of entries to 512 in the root folder.

  • Windows 2000 and Windows XP can format partitions up to 2 terabytes using NTFS.

  • NTFS manages disk space efficiently by using smaller clusters (see the cluster table).

  • The boot sector is backed up to a sector at the end of the volume.

  • You can set permissions on shares, folders, and files that specify which groups and users have access, and what level of access is permitted on NTFS partitions.

  • NTFS supports a native encryption system, (EFS), to prevent unauthorized access to file contents.

  • Reparse points enable new features such as volume mount points.

  • Disk quotas can be set to limit the amount of usage allowed by end users.

  • NTFS uses a change journal to track changes made to files.

  • NTFS supports distributed link tracking to maintain the integrity of shortcuts and OLE links.

  • NTFS supports sparse files so that very large files can be written to disk while requiring only a small amount of storage space.

There are also a few notable disadvantages to NTFS, as outlined below.

  • NTFS volumes are not locally accessible from MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition operating systems.

  • Many advanced features of NTFS included with version 5 are not available in Windows NT.

  • On small partitions with mostly small files, the overhead of managing the NTFS file system can cause a slight performance drop in comparison to FAT.

  • Floppy disks cannot be formatted as NTFS

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - There is no test requirement to memorize the NTFS tables either, but again, it's good to understand the "how and why" of it. Also, it is never a "best practice" to dual boot any workstation or server that has sensitive data on it with any file system installed that cannot secure those files or any operating system that threatens that security. This would include even NTFS if older versions and newer versions of NTFS are running and one "degrades" the security strength of the other.

For more detailed answers to questions about the NTFS File System, you can look up the information in the Microsoft Windows XP Professional Resource Kit Documentation, which can also be found online.

NTFS stands for New Technology File System.

The maximum single file size on a NTFS partition is 16 EB (exabytes), in theory.

This article was originally published on Jun 3, 2002

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