NTFS vs FAT32: which is better?

fat vs nfts
fat vs nfts

Dernière mise à jour: 6 mai 2022

As you may already know, Windows is based on one of two types of file systems: FAT or NTFS.

Although both file systems were created by Microsoft, each has different advantages and disadvantages in terms of compatibility, security, and flexibility.

In this article we will see together what is a FAT file system, what is a NTFS file system and what are the pros and cons of each system.

At the end of this article, you will have a general idea about these two file systems.

What is FAT32?

FAT32 is the older of the two file formats. It is therefore not as efficient or advanced. However, it offers more than compatibility with other operating systems and removable storage devices.

FAT32 had been the standard format for floppy disks and hard drives throughout the DOS years, and versions of Windows up to Windows XP. Today, it is more used in removable storage devices, such as digital cameras, smart TVs and other portable devices.

There are several limitations to using FAT32:

  • FAT32 only supports files up to 4GB and partitions up to 2TB.
  • FAT32 is not a journaling file system, which means corruption can occur more easily.
  • FAT32 does not support file access permissions.

NTFS, what is it?

NTFS is a format owned by Microsoft, erase the limits of Fat32 and is compatible with some multimedia devices but rarely with USB ports on televisions.

NTFS is the modern file system that Windows likes to use by default. It offers many security-related features, including file permissions, a change log (to recover errors in the event of a crash), the data encryption, the definition of usage quota, etc. This is why it is essential that the partition where Windows is located is in NTFS format.

NTFS supports:

  • Very large files
  • File access permissions and encryption
  • Compress files when low on disk space
  • Establish disk quotas, limit the space that users can use

NTFS vs. FAT32

FAT32 is the simpler file system of the two, but NTFS offers various enhancements and provides increased security. Choosing the right system depends on your needs.

  1. NTFS automatically repairs files / folders in the event of a power failure or error. FAT32 keeps two different copies of the FAT in case of damage.
  2. FAT32 only offers shared permissions, while NTFS allows you to set specific permissions on local files / folders.
  3. FAT32 does not offer any compression option. NTFS allows compression of files and folders.
  4. NTFS is not compatible with all operating systems.


In conclusion,  choosing the right file system depends on your individual needs and uses. if your use stops at transfers between computers, the FAT32 format is the most convenient and will be fully compatible with all computers.

And if you are going to use the usb device for Windows environment only, NTFS is the best choice.