NTFS and FAT32

Microsoft Windows xp professional w/ sp2
April 18, 2010 at 08:50:24
Specs: Windows XP
I have a computer which is running two hard drives. My C drive died and I replaced it with a larger Maxtor. My new C drive is running NTFS and my second drive is running FAT32. The computer is now much slower than before. Could the NTFS and FAT32 mix be causing this?

See More: NTFS and FAT32

Report •

April 18, 2010 at 08:57:40
The NTFS / FAT32 pairing has nothing to do with your performance issues. It would be helpful to know your system specs & whether these HDDs are SATA or IDE/PATA. If they're PATA, are they sharing the same cable/channel?

Since you had to replace the HDD, you had to reinstall XP, right? Did you install all the latest drivers & Windows Updates? Why are you still running SP2?

Report •

April 18, 2010 at 14:52:51
NTFS is always slower. There is a huge overhead to it. It should only be noticed on marginal systems.

Might be some other issue. Maybe the dma setting is wrong or some other issue like double cache or some other performance setting. Try running perfmon tests.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

Report •

April 19, 2010 at 09:28:16
NTFS is slower than FAT32. NTFS is a so called "intelligent filesystem", in that it has security features (all of which haven't been secure for ages) like permissions and ownerships, NTFS also has metadata support, log files, etc. Basically it has everything an everyday user does not need.... except support for files larger than 4GB's. NTFS is also slooowww when compared to a drive formatted in FAT32. The reason is FAT32 does not have all the overhead that NTFS has, all of which should have been implemented in the OS, and not the filesystem.

Back on topic, NTFS is a few percent slower than FAT32 in real world terms and if you have both HD's on the same cable(bus), performance will suffer. The best option is to place the boot drive(which should be formatted in FAT32) on 1 bus, and then the data drive(NTFS) on the secondary bus.

PowerMac 9600(1 ghz G4)
512mb RAM
50gb SCSI
ATi 9200 PCI

Report •

Related Solutions

April 19, 2010 at 09:51:50
NTFS is slower on partitions that you would normally put FAT32 on but with partition sizes the 60,. 70 80 Gb range, NTFS is faster because of its fixed cluster size. With disk sizes stretching into the TB region, you need something more than a files system that begins to run out of steam at 32Gbs.

One big advantage NTSF has is that it is a journalling file system. This means the it will self correct errors that would bring FAT 32 crashing to a halt with lost cluster and cross linked cluster.

To say that file file system should have been implemented in the Operating System is to misunderstand exactly what the Operating System and the File system does. The code to manipulate the files system is in the Operating system. The structure, facilities and design of the file system is implemented in the formatting of the partition.

The file system is a separate entity altogether to the operating system otherwise it would be impossible to read it outside of the operating system that created it without duplicating huge tracts of the operating system.


Report •

April 19, 2010 at 11:24:49
Because you did not post the size or model of the new hard drive I can only guess at some additional causes.

First are the green versions of some drives that are rotating at 5400RPM as opposed to the faster 7200RPM. This will result in a performance hit.

Another probable cause is if your new drive supports Advanced Format. This defaults to 4k sectors instead of the old standard of 512byte. This speeds up the drive when used with an operating system that supports that sector size. However, WinXP doesn't natively support 4k sector size. Look at the article linked below for more on this topic.


Report •

April 19, 2010 at 11:51:03
"Since you had to replace the HDD, you had to reinstall XP, right? Did you install all the latest drivers & Windows Updates? "

That has the most effect on the performance of your system. If you haven't loaded the drivers for your particular mboard, your system will probably run a lot slower than it is capable of.

XP doesn't have the drivers built in for most things that first came out after XP was first released, circa 2001, and it doesn't have some of the drivers built in for things made before that.

Whenever you load Windows from a regular Windows CD (or DVD) from scratch, after Setup is finished you must load the drivers for the mboard, particularly the main chipset drivers, in order for Windows to have the proper drivers for and information about your mboard hardware, including it's AGP or PCI-E, ACPI, USB 2.0 if it has it, and hard drive controller support. If you have a generic system and have the CD that came with the mboard, all the necessary drivers are on it. If you load drivers from the web, brand name system builders and mboard makers often DO NOT have the main chipset drivers listed in the downloads for your model - in that case you must go to the maker of the main chipset's web site, get the drivers, and load them.

Load the main chipset drivers first.

If your XP CD does not have SP3 updates included, the best time to load them is right after you have installed Windows from scratch, before you have loaded a lot of other software, because you're unlikely to have any problems while installing the SP3 updates, or any problems after they have been installed, in that case.
Don't install anti-malware software before you install the SP3 updates, especially Norton / Symantec products.
It's perfectly safe to access the web before you have anti-malware software installed, for the site for your mboard manufacturer's or brand name system's web site, and the major main chipset maker's web sites, so that you can get drivers, and to access the Microsoft Update page on the Microsoft site to have it Express search for the updates manually - however, don't randomly search for anything on the web until you HAVE installed anti-malware software .
If your CD has SP2 updates included, you only have to install a few things there at the Microsoft Updates page, then the only thing listed is the SP3 updates.
If your CD has SP1 updates included, or no SP updates included, you have to install more things there, and possibly have to go there several times, THEN the only thing listed is the SP3 updates.
After the SP3 updates have been installed, you can have it Express search for more updates there, or just let Automatic Update do that that gradually..

Report •

Ask Question