All You Need to Know About Windows 10 File Systems

All You Need to Know About Windows 10 File Systems | OpenGrowth

Are you a tech person? Do you spend more time on your computers or laptops than other things? Well, then you must have surely come across terms like NTFS and FAT32 right? No? Let me put it in other words. 

Have you ever encountered a problem while uploading a file like ‘file is too large for the destination file system’? Every Windows user comes across these problems while operating their systems at some point. These errors are all related to the flash drive systems.  

Let us learn more about them, so that you can troubleshoot such issues while operating Windows 10. These are a few things you should do with your new laptop. However, before getting into understanding the problems of file systems, let us know what file systems are. 


What are file systems?

A system file is a representation of how files are stored in your storage device. They are pieces of software that help the operating system organize data in your systems (computers, laptops) more precisely. 

To understand this more properly, you can take an example of your closet. In a closet, you have a segregated space for all your belongings. A separate space for your clothes, shoes, accessories, vanity, shoes, etc. 

Similarly, in your computers or storage devices, you have ample space for storage. You need to manage that storage space in a segregated manner. This is exactly what the file systems do. 

When you store something. Be it video or an audio file, the computer knows where to store this file. This is because of the file systems. There are different file systems for different operating systems. Windows uses NTFS. 

What happens when your storage space in your computer gets exhausted? This is where external storage devices come in. 



Storage in External Devices 

There are various types of external storage devices like flash drives, SD Cards, external hard disks, etc. these storage devices are often formatted with FAT32 or exFAT. 


What is a FAT (File Allocation Table)?

FAT has been in existence since 1977. In its initial days, FAT was used in floppy disks. Then, Windows began using FAT with DOS in its early versions. 

As technology advanced, so did FAT. It underwent many modifications like an increase in the maximum supported partition and file sizes. The most used version of FAT is FAT32. This is being used in all the low-capacity flash drives. 

When you use any 2, 4, or 32 GB flash drive or an SD Card, they are mostly formatted with FAT32. 


Things to note while using FAT32 

  • FAT32 does not support files more than 4 GB 
  • It does not support storage capacities of more than 32 GB 


FAT32 is still the most used file system due to its compatibility with operating systems from Windows to Linux. 


What is NTFS? 

The New Technology File System (NTFS) came into existence in 1993. Microsoft developed NTFS to overcome the shortcomings of FAT32. One of the biggest shortfalls of FAT32 as mentioned above is limited storage space. It can store data only up to 32GB. This is why NTFS was needed. NTFS can manage data with a max file of size of 16 EB (exabytes). 


How big are Exabytes files? 

One HD movie is the size of 1 GB. You can store 1000 such movies on a hard disk of 1TB. A 1EB hard drive can store data worth 1,000,000TB. Surprised! NTFS supports a max file size of 16 EB. 


Benefits of NTFS 

  • IT keeps track of the changes made in the file. 
  • In case of sudden power loss, it prevents data loss. 
  • Provides features of encryption or read-only permissions for files. You can set on only read-only permission to prevent someone from making any changes in your file. 



File systems are the key to organizing data on your computer. However, no file system is a standard. Each operating system uses different file systems. Do not refrain from experimenting with the upgraded file systems for better system performance. 


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An artist by heart and a writer by profession, Prachi is a vivacious reader.  She believes in hard work and her dedication has never let her down. She puts her heart and soul in everthing she does. Though life has not been a bed of roses for her, she affirms that the best way to live it is to maintain an equillibrium between the tunes of life.