Personal Computer File Systems:
Disks, Volumes, Partitions & File Systems -
The structure used by an Operating System, of naming, accessing, organizing and storing Files and Directories on a Disk. FAT, FAT32, NTFS and HPFS are common File Systems used on Personal Computers. Windows 2000 & WinXP Pro support the first three File Systems mentioned. HPFS is only supported under Windows NT versions 3.1, 3.5, and 3.51. Windows NT 4.0 does not support and cannot access HPFS partitions. (HFS) Hierarchical File System is used in the Mac.
Before deciding which File System to use, one should understand the benefits and limitations each File System offers. Changing a Disk Volume's existing File System can be tedious, so choose the File System best suited to your long-term Storage needs. If you decide to use a different File System other than the default choice, always Back Up your Data Files first before proceeding further!
Windows File Systems:
The 12-bit FAT File System is used on FAT volumes smaller than 16 MegaBytes in size, such as Floppy Disks.
A little knowledge of File Systems becomes apparent and necessary when Dual Booting Operating Systems with different File System support capabilities. Match your File System requirements to the corresponding Technologies you require use thereof.
And remember, repetitive Disk Access of Files causes Fragmentation so Defrag accordingly!
Disk Volume -
Partition Boot Sector -
Software that keeps track of files stored across multiple networks. When the data is requested, it converts the file names into the physical location of the file so it can be found.
Quoting Microsoft, "The Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) is a Network Server Component that makes it easier for you to find and manage data on your Network. DFS is a means for uniting files on different computers into a single name space, making it easy to build a single, hierarchical view of multiple file servers and file server shares on your Network. ...DFS can be thought of as a share of other shares."
DFS overcomes the limitations of UNC - Universal Naming Convention by Mapping the Physical Storage into a Logical Representation. The Net Benefit - The physical location of Data becomes transparent to Users and Applications. Hence, better mining of Data!
File System with robust power off recovery - Media will not corrupt if power is lost during a file modification.
"The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association (Once known as the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council), is the semiconductor engineering standardization body of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), a trade association that represents all areas of the electronics industry."
A file organization method that stores data in a top-to-bottom organization structure. All internal access to the data starts at the top and proceeds throughout the levels of the hierarchy. The file system used in the Macintosh.
A File System containing its own backup and recovery capability. Before indexes on Disk are updated, information regarding changes are recorded in a log. If a power or other system failure corrupts the indexes as they are being rewritten, the Operating System can use the log to repair them when the system is restarted.
The Journaled File System is supported by OS/2 Warp Server & Linux.
The NT File System is used in Windows NT which uses the Unicode character set and allows file names up to 255 characters in length. The NTFS is designed to recover on the fly from hard disk crashes thus providing performance, security, reliability, and advanced features not found in any version of File Allocation Table (FAT). Windows NT supports multiple File Systems. It can run with a DOS/Windows FAT - FAT32, an OS/2 HPFS and a native NTFS, each in a different partition on the hard disk. NT's security features require NTFS be used. WinXP Pro uses NTFS 5. NTFS is a Hierarchical File System.
In a mixed NTFS environment, we suggest formatting ALL NTFS Drives with the more current NTFS Disk Management Tools. And even though a FAT32 Partition can be converted to NTFS, for performance reasons we also suggest only creating new NTFS Drives instead of converting existing FAT32 drives if you have that luxury.
Paraphrasing Microsoft, "The NTFS File System is available in WinNT Workstation, Win2000 Pro & WinXP Pro, but not in WinMe, Win98, or Win95.
NTFS is a Journaling File System. Meaning a File System keeping track of events that contain its own backup (transaction logging) and recovery capability. Before indexes on disk are updated, the information about the changes are recorded in a log. If a power or other system failure corrupts the indexes as they are being rewritten, the operating system can use the log to repair them when the system is restarted.
The only circumstance we've encountered when this did not work is when a System loses power during User LogIn. And this procedure requires a simple Password Recovery.
Each File System has its' uses and each was designed for a Technology for a time whether for Win9x or 64 bit Windows. As Storage capacities increase so too the need for File Systems better able to manage larger capacity HDD's. NTFS also provides file and folder permissions, encryption, disk quotas, and compression.
All file systems supported by Windows have the following Storage Components:
Storage Devices and Partitions are not part of the File System, but are the required physical foundation for the Logical File System Components. For more information about disk devices, see Disk Devices and Partitions.
Since NTFS is the preferred File System, the documentation links above describe only the NTFS implementation of volumes, directories, and files. FAT32, FAT16, and FAT12 implementations are legacy Technology, and are not covered beyond general descriptions.
Advantages of NTFS File System include:
The Encrypting File System (EFS) Technology in Windows XP helps protect your sensitive data. If you encrypt a file with EFS, only you can open the file and work with it. This is especially useful on your laptop because even if someone finds it or steals it, they cannot access the files on your hard drive.
WinXP supports all three Files Systems - NTFS, FAT32 and FAT16. Utilizing FAT32 and FAT16 allows Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows to run cooperatively in a Dual Boot Configuration on one Computer with a singular Boot Partition HD.
Linux File Systems:
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Web Development, Gill Boyd & Team - Posted 06/12/2001; Updated 04/26/2008