FAT32 vs NTFS
The New Technologies File
System [NTFS] offers
advantages over FAT32, such as better security
[user privileges, password-protected directories], and is more
reliable [fault tolerance, write-verifies, journaling].
If you plan to dual- or multi-boot different flavors of Windows, that
include any of the legacy versions, such as Win98/SE or Windows ME...
...it might be better to format
everything as FAT32, especially if your PC is at home,
where you don't have to worry about prying eyes [security].
Formatting everything as FAT32 would allow you to see/access/read_from/write_to
any drive/partition from any operating system [Windows 98/ME/2000/XP].
All version of Windows, back to W98, support FAT32. Windows 2000 and
XP support both NTFS and FAT32. W98 and WME support FAT32 only, noy
FAT32 offers better performance, especially with smaller drives. But
I doubt you'll notice any real-world performance differences.
several flavors of Windows [ME/2000/XP], and use NTFS for everything
except the partition where I installed WinME. If you're *not* going
to install any copies of Win98 or WinME, I suggest you use only NTFS.
Some users prefer to load their O/S to a FAT32 partition, because DOS supports FAT32 [but not NTFS]. These users feel the ability to load DOS-based recovery tools to analyze and repair O/S
problems gives them an advantage with FAT32. This is a valid strategy,
although I still prefer NTFS because it is more-reliable.
You should never fill an NTFS drive more than 85%
full, or the Master File Table [MFT] can become badly fragmented, making
the drive slow. You need special tools, such as PerfectDisk or Diskeeper,
to defrag the MFT. You can learn more about the advanatges of NTFS vs
FAT32 here and here.
There is a 3rd party utility made by Sysinternals
(made by Winternals, acquired by Microsoft, July 2006) that allows you to read_from and write_to files stored on NTFS partitions
from with-in Windows 98/ME [which don't normally support NTFS]. Again,
you don't need these utilities if everything is FAT32.
Many long-time users of Norton Ghost, who preferred NTFS, used to keep
one FAT32 partition on their system to receive/store Ghost images.
Norton Ghost v2003 (released August 2002) added support for writing
images to NTFS partitions. Ghost 2003 works from DOS. Symantec somehow found
a way for Ghost to write images to NTFS partitions [even tho DOS does
not support NTFS].
NTFS is better to use for drives dedicated to video capture/storage
because it does not have the file-size limitations associated with FAT32.
If I were going to partition 320-GB drive today, for a system containing only this drive, I'd break it up like so. Note this is merely personal preference, and will give you an idea of what is possible:
- 5-GB FAT32 primary partition. FAT32 is DOS-compatible. Never know when you might need to load some DOS disk utilities, or install a legacy version of Windows. Nice to have the capability, even if you never need to use it.
You can still use this partition with Windows XP, since WXP supports FAT32, so the space is not wasted, even if you have no DOS-based utilities. [C: drive]
- 10-GB EXT3 or Reiser primary partition for Linux. Our resident Linux guru, Mr. Magoo, prefers Ubuntu. Fedora also has its fans. See here for more about Partitioning for Linux. [Windows won't see this partition.]
- 1-GB Linux swap partition, primary. The more memory/RAM your system has, the less swap it will use. [Windows won't see this partition either.]
- 25-GB NTFS extended/logical for WinXP & all normal programs/apps [D: drive] You shouldn't need this much space, but better to have a little extra here. Don't install any multi-CD programs here, such as Encarta. Install them to your \Games directory.
- 20-GB NTFS extended/logical for WinXP dedicated solely for video-editing. If you don't plan to edit video, you don't need this separate partition. [E: drive]
- 30-GB NTFS ext/logical deciated solely for games and other multi-CD programs, such as Encarta. The size of this drive obviously depends on how many games you have. This number can easily grow to be a huge.
Keeping your games in a separate partition means your back-up images of your system partition will be much smaller. If you don't play video games, you wouldn't need this extra partition. [F: drive]
- 10-GB NTFS ext/logical dedicated for beta OS'es, such as the newest version of Windows. If you never plan to try out a beta operating system, you obviously wouldn't need this partition. But it's nice to have one standing by, just in case. If you don't use it for Vienna, you could use the space for other things, whatever you choose, so it's not wasted. [G: drive]
- 100-GB NTFS ext/logical for digital media such as lossless audio, MP3s, jpegs, graphics, scans, photos from digital cameras. [H: drive] Some people have so much digital media that they require an entire hard drive for this purpose.
- 60-GB FAT32 ext/logical for back-up Norton Ghost images. If you have more space, this partition could be bigger, allowing you more back-up space for more images. I use 30-GB here, and I never defrag the partition that contains my images. [I: drive]
- 40-GB NTFS ext/logical for downloads, drivers (downloaded drivers, that is), back-up files, etc. [J: drive]
You'll find that your 320-gig hard drive, after being formatted, actually provides something less than 320 gigs, due to the way Windows count space.
[i.e. > 1KB = 1.024 bytes, 1MB = 1,024 KB, 1GB = 1,024 MB, etc. Hard drive manufacturers, on the other hand, use 1KB = 1,000 bytes. Thus the difference between what the capacity stated by the manufacturer & what you see as avaialble space in Windows.]
If you plan to capture & edit video (which is very cool), you should have a *separate* hard drive for that. Using a drive to run your O/S, apps, paging and shuttle huge video files is asking a bit much of it.
As you can see, 320 gigs gives you plenty of room to play with. Do with it as you please. There's no right or wrong way to partition a hard drive.
I feel compelled here
to note that having *two* physically separate drives is *far* better than having only one .. because, if your (one) drive dies, you lose everything on it. I discuss how to create reliable back-ups in more detail > HERE.
Note 1: I use Partition Magic to create EXT3 and Linux
Swap partitions, and Boot Magic [comes with Partition Magic] to control
my Linux boots. Many others swear by System Commander, which is more sophisticated. I use Windows own boot (NT) loader to control Windows
Note 2: There is no rule that says, once you create
a partition for a specific purpose [like those listed here], you can't
later use them for different purposes. For example, if you
later find that you have more than 16-GB worth of MP3s,
there's nothing wrong with storing MP3s in the drive you originally
designated for jpegs.
This should be obvious, but I've actually had
people argue with me that my method of partitioning limits the number
of MP3s they can store on their system.
Note 3: I do not recommend using systems with only
a single hard drive. You should always have a second hard drive in your
system. I explain my reasoning on this
Note 4: If you plan to capture & edit video, you
should have a separate physical hard drive dedicated
solely for that function. That's why you don't see a partition listed
for "video capture" above. See here to learn more about video
Actually, if you want to edit video seriously, I recommend dedicating *two* hard drives for video: one for captured raw data and one for output data and temp files.
Again, all this is merely personal preference. There's no right or wrong
way to partition a drive. The more physical hard drives your system
contains, the less partitions you need on each individual drive to achieve
the same degree of flexibility. If my system contained more physical
hard drives, I wouldn't add so many partitions to this drive.
Now that drives have become so large [750
gigs and growing], and have become so
inexpensive, more people are migrating to use lossless
audio compression: the ultimate in archival audio quality .. using
programs such as Monkey's Audio.
You can fit your favorite songs from a couple hundred CDs on a single
drive using lossless audio compression. For more info on the subject
of ripping & encoding, see the Guide
to Ripping & Encoding CD Audio.
Partitioning in a nutshell: More options are better than less options.
More partitions give you more options. It's better to partition intelligently
the first time, so you leave yourself more options down the road, instead
of having to go back and re-partition later, which can cause problems. THE END.