A discussion about Microsoft's file system requires a review of the history related to how these file system were introduced and the needs they were trying meet. The Microsoft operating systems have come to dominate the business and personal computer market. As they were beginning with their very first operating system it was necessary for them to develop a file system. And over the years Microsoft has changed their file system as Windows has become more complex and computer hardware becomes faster and more powerful. The changes Microsoft has made to its files system is charted below on the table below.
Microsoft's file system versions.
FAT12 Represents Microsoft's first file system introduced in 1977, it was provided with Microsoft's Disk BASIC
FAT16 Introduced in 1983 with the release of MS-DOS/PC-DOS 2.0
FAT32 Introduced in 1996 with the release of Windows 95's OEM Service Release 2
NTFS Introduced in July 1993 with the release of Windows NT 3.1
The name FAT is an acronym which stands for File Allocation Table and refers to a table or index listing of file names and clusters. This table is use to centralize the information used to identify which physical areas on the disk that are being used for file st...
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...a page related to Windows Vista they go to great lengths to promote the advantages of NTFS.
"Some features that are available when you choose NTFS:
File encryption allows you to protect files and folders from unauthorized access.
Permissions can be set on individual files, as well as on folders.
Disk quotas allow you to monitor and control the amount of disk space used by individual users.
Better scalability allows you to use large volumes. The maximum volume size for NTFS is much greater than it is for FAT. Additionally, NTFS performance does not degrade as volume size increases, as it does in FAT systems.
Recovery logging of disk activities helps restore information quickly in the event of power failure or other system problems." (TechNet)
This same pages also provides a table below that describes the size and domain limitations of each file system.
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