What is NTFS (New Technology File System)?

NTFS (New Technology File System) is one of the most powerful, flexible, and robust file systems today.

What is NTFS (New Technology File System)?

NT File System History

NTFS is a file system developed by Microsoft. It was first released in July 1993 with the release of WinNT 3.1. Prior to NTFS, Windows operating systems were using the FAT32 file system.

However, FAT32 had limitations such that it could only work with files smaller than 4GB and a maximum of 8TB partitions. Also, it did not provide any data protection in case of power failure. NTFS metadata for better support, a better performance due to better data configuration, it provides more reliability.


This system is based on a structure called MFT (Master File Table) containing detailed file information. NTFS allows long names to be used, but unlike FAT32, it is case sensitive.

In terms of performance, accessing files in the NTFS partition is faster than in a FAT-type partition because it uses advanced data structures to find files. In theory, the segment size limit is 16 exabytes (17 billion TB).


NTFS is a file system specially designed for Windows NT to create an efficient, robust, and secure file system from its base.

It also supports local file compression, encryption, and even operations. It is based on the IBM/Microsoft HPFS file system used in the OS/2 operating system and has some impact on the HFS file format designed by Apple.

NTFS replaced the previous Microsoft file system, called FAT, in MS-DOS and early versions of Windows.

This new system includes improved metadata compatibility and new additional features such as security, access control lists, such as using an advanced data structure to optimize performance, stability, and disk space usage, as well as many improvements to the FAT system.

The minimum recommended size for the partition is 10 MB. While larger sizes are possible, the maximum recommended in practice is 2 TB (Terabyte) for each volume. The maximum file size is limited by the volume size.


The advantages of NTFS, which is a reliable file system, are;

  1. Restores file system consistency in case of power loss or system failure. You can also reassign bad sectors by moving recoverable data from these sectors to healthy ones.
  2. It offers security by allowing you to set permissions on files and folders so that only users and user groups can access them.
  3. Theoretically, it supports large partitions with a maximum of 16 EIB (exbibytes) minus 1 KB and approximately 1,152,921 TB (terabytes). However, the partition size accepted by Windows operating systems is 256 TB.
  4. It supports disk quotas, the tool for controlling storage space, and allows administrators to adjust the amount of information each user can store on a particular drive or partition.
  5. It uses file compression to increase storage space.
  6. You can access disk volumes as regular folders on your file system.
  7. It can recover free space by checking zero fields sequentially from files on disk.
  8. Instead of conserving disk space, it reports the free space to the operating system via metadata.
  9. Keeps track of files added, modified, or deleted to a drive.


  1. It needs good hard disk space for itself, so it is not recommended to use on less than 400 MB of free disks.
  2. It is not compatible with MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows ME.
  3. It cannot be used on floppy disks.
  4. Many mobile devices, such as Android smartphones and tablets, are not compatible with NTFS.
  5. NTFS formatted drives can be read on Mac OS computers, but can only be written with the help of third-party software.
  6. Some older devices, such as DVD players, televisions, or digital cameras, also do not offer support for NTFS storage devices.
  7. It does not include a system that guarantees the performance and bandwidth of the file system.
  8. It cannot work with an unlimited number of subdirectories. It is limited to 16,000 folders in a single directory.

NTFS Versions

As a file system, NTFS has evolved over its lifetime as it developed the first version of Microsoft and released a number of updates over the years. The main versions of NTFS are as follows:

Operating System
Release Date
Windows NT 3.1
NTFS 1.1
Windows NT 3.51
NTFS 1.2
Windows NT 4.0
NTFS 3.0
Windows 2000
NTFS 3.1
Windows XP,
Windows Vista,
Windows 7,
Windows 8 and 8.1,
Windows 10

These versions are sometimes called v4.0, v5.0, v5.1, v 5.2, and v 6.0 in relation to the version of Windows in which they are included. There are some new features in the latest versions, such as disk quotas and volume mount points.

Usage Areas

NTFS is the default file system used by Microsoft operating systems since Windows XP. All Windows versions of Windows XP use version 3.1. It is also a popular file system as it is an excellent choice on an external hard drive.

It is generally not used on SD cards and USB sticks with small storage capacity. Because FAT32 or exFAT is preferred because of better compatibility with multimedia devices.

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