Choosing between FAT or NTFS for preparing a new media is usually a no-brainer. Big disk? Format it with NTFS, as Windows will probably not allow putting a variation of the FAT system there. Memory card? FAT. But what about the less obvious choices, such as choosing the perfect file system for a large USB flash drive, an external disk, NAS or external RAID storage?
The Benefits of NTFS
Since Windows XP, Windows will not allow formatting a system drive with anything but NTFS. And there’s a good reason why. Compared to all variations of the FAT system, NTFS offers a range of important benefits that come as a necessity when a modern OS is considered. NTFS integrates features such as comprehensive file access permission management, optional data compression and encryption, alternative data streams etc.
More importantly and to the point of this blog are the features of NTFS increasing its durability and reliability of data storage. NTFS implement transaction-based access system, meaning that every write operation follows a strict procedure that basically insures continuous integrity of the entire file system during the write operation. If, for example, a computer loses power during a large write operation (or, even worse, during multiple concurrent write operations), a FAT formatted disk will become corrupted. An NTFS volume will remain healthy though. During the next startup, the system will immediately recognize incomplete transactions, and perform the necessary measures to clean up the file system by rolling the changes back. The FAT drive will continue carrying a half-complete write until the user manually performs a scandisk operation.
An additional data reliability measure available in the NTFS file system is a secondary backup copy of the file system located somewhere in the middle of the disk. This allows the system or a data recovery tool to refer to the second copy if the main one is damaged.
NTFS Data Recovery
NTFS is a very robust file system designed to ensure reliable data storage. However, data loss happens with NTFS drives as well. Deleted files, accidental and malicious user activities, hardware faults and unrecoverable logical failures often require the use of a data recovery tool. While, in general, the NTFS is a more complex file system compared to the older FAT, it offers additional means to help a data recovery tool reliably extract information from NTFS-formatted disks. Use a competent dedicated (e.g. 1st NTFS Recovery) or universal (e.g. Partition Recovery) tool to recover information from NTFS volumes.