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Sakshi Jain
Sakshi Jain

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A closer look to NTFS

One major function of the Operating System is File Management.

File management means managing files so that files can be stored, retrieved, and modified easily.

There are different ways in which files are managed, every Operating system has its own way of dealing with files.

Windows xp,7,8,10,11 uses NTFS
Mac OS uses APFS

Let's look deeper into NTFS

NTFS stands for New Technology File System.

It is the file system that the Windows NT operating system (OS) uses for storing and retrieving files on hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs).

NTFS offers several improvements over FAT and HPFS in terms of performance, extendibility, and security.

The file system essentially organizes the data into files. It controls how data files are named, stored, retrieved, and updated and what other information can be associated with the files like user permissions, etc

How NTFS is used?

Microsoft Windows and some removable storage devices use NTFS to organize, name, and store files.

NTFS is also used on external drives because it has the capacity those drives need, supporting large files and partition sizes.

How does NTFS work?

When installing an OS, the user chooses a file system. When formatting an SSD or an HDD, users choose the file system they'll use.

When an HDD is formatted or initialized, it is divided into partitions. Partitions are the major divisions of the hard drive's physical space. Within each partition, the OS keeps track of all the files it stores. Each file is stored on the HDD in one or more clusters or disk spaces of a predefined uniform size.

Using NTFS, the sizes of the clusters range from 512 bytes to 64 KB.

Cluster sizes are determined based on balancing a trade off between maximizing the use of disk space and minimizing the number of disk accesses required to get a file. With NTFS, generally, the larger the drive, the larger the default cluster size, because it's assumed that a system user will prefer to have fewer disk accesses and better performance at the expense of less efficient use of space.

When a file is created using NTFS, a record about the file is created in the Master File Table (MFT). The record is used to locate a file's possibly scattered clusters. NTFS looks for a storage space that will hold all the clusters of the file, but it isn't always able to find one space altogether.

Along with its data content, each file contains its metadata, which is a description of its attributes.

Features of NTFS

  • NTFS uses a b-tree directory scheme to keep track of file clusters

  • NTFS supports very large files

  • It has an access control list that lets a server administrator control who can access specific files.

  • Integrated file compression shrinks file sizes

  • It supports file names based on Unicode, NTFS has a more natural file-naming convention and allows for longer file names with a wider array of characters. Non-Unicode naming conventions sometimes require translation.

  • NTFS provides security for data on removable and nonremovable disks.

  • The access control features of NTFS let administrators place permissions on sensitive data, restricting access to certain users. It also supports encryption.

  • The MFT logs and audits files on the drive, so administrators can track files that have been deleted, added or changed in any way.

  • Mac OS devices, Android devices, and non-window OS do not support NTFS.

  • NTFS is read-only with Mac and Linux.

Thanks for reading

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Yongchang He

Thank you for sharing!