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Windows 7: 16Gb flash drive FAT32 or NTFS?


26 Jan 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP 1
 
 
16Gb flash drive FAT32 or NTFS?

I'm going to use two 16Gb USB flash drives strictly for backing up data files and storing the drives alternately every month offsite. I will need to use the flash drives mainly in my Windows 7 machine, but I might need to access them with a Windows XP laptop.

Should I format the flash drives FAT32 or NTFS?

Thanks.

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26 Jan 2011   #2

windows 7, mac os X
 
 

doesnt really matter, depends on the data u plan to put on the drive. why not use exFAT thats what exFAT is for i thought.
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26 Jan 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)
 
 

The decision largely depends on how are you planning to use the drive. Do you plan on using it with Windows machines and keep sensitive data? Then I would go with NTFS.

Do you plan to connect it to other machines (Macs, Linux, etc)? Do you plan to use it for media files? As an example, I use my 8GB USB drive to watch video files on my Blu-Ray player. It's much better than watching anything on the PC. But, the Blu-Ray player can only read FAT32 drives, so that was the decisive factor for me. The drawback is the 4GB file size limit of FAT32, if I have a larger video file, then I have to do something else.

So, as I said, the decision is yours and it depends on what do you want to do with the thing.
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26 Jan 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by unifex View Post
The drawback is the 4GB file size limit of FAT32, if I have a larger video file, then I have to do something else.
That's been the only deciding factor for me in this choice. In the end I wound up formatting one ntfs and leaving one fat32
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26 Jan 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP 1
 
 

Thanks, all. I will use the drives only for backup of all kinds of files and file types. But the drives will just sit in a safe deposit box as backup. No applications, no playing movies, just sitting there as backup (I'll store media files on the flash drives, but I won't be playing them from those drives). No Linux, no Mac--just Windows 7 and perhaps Windows XP computers (but mostly Windows 7).
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26 Jan 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Don't see a reason to use FAT32 on the drive. If you are only using it with Windows XP through Windows 7, they read/write NTFS just fine and this gets you over the 4GB max file size limitation of FAT32.
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26 Jan 2011   #7

Win 7 Pro x64 SP1 OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gogreen View Post
Thanks, all. I will use the drives only for backup of all kinds of files and file types. But the drives will just sit in a safe deposit box as backup. No applications, no playing movies, just sitting there as backup (I'll store media files on the flash drives, but I won't be playing them from those drives). No Linux, no Mac--just Windows 7 and perhaps Windows XP computers (but mostly Windows 7).
NTFS is likely your best option.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2011   #8

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

As the Folks above Suggest - NTFS

My opinion (and from what I've read) - NTFS, the newest of the file systems, is much more stable and reliable than Fat, Fat16, or Fat32 and is far less prone to file system errors. I realize you wont need NTFS's > 4 GB memory advantages but nevertheless - I think its your best bet.
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26 Jan 2011   #9

Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit / XP Home sp3
 
 

Simply put NTFS or whatever your system is formatted to. Why not keep then all using the same format?
Fabe
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26 Jan 2011   #10

 
 

Although NTFS has its advantages, it also performs more writes to the media and is not generally recommended for flash drives. Given that flash drives 'wear out' after so many writes, I would go FAT 32 or exFAT, which overcomes the FAT32 4GB size limitation.

You can read about it here:

exFAT Versus FAT32 Versus NTFS | Microsoft Vista | Tech-Recipes


James
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 16Gb flash drive FAT32 or NTFS?




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