What is the Difference Between FAT32 vs NTFS vs exFAT File Systems?


No matter what you need to do, whether you want to insert a drive, internal drive, an external drive, a USB flash drive or a Windows SD card, you will be asked to choose the “format” option, which can be any of the following FAT32 exFAT and NTFS.

FAT32 is the oldest file system, which is more prearranged for USB flash drives and some of the other external drives.

Difference between FAT32 exFAT and NTFS


FAT32 exFAT and NTFS: FAT32 as of now is one of the oldest and used file system among those mentioned. It was introduced with the Windows operating system of Windows 95 to replace the older FAT16 file system.

This file system has advantages and disadvantages. Precisely because it is so old and was in the Microsoft for a longer period of time, it has become the de-facto standard.

The Flash units that I can easily buy, are often formatted with FAT32 for maximum compatibility not only with modern computers but also with other devices such as game consoles and anything that has a USB port.

Compatibility: There is no compatibility option with it as it works with all versions of Windows, Mac, Linux, game consoles, and virtually any device with a USB port.

Limits: It has a maximum file size of 4 GB with 8 TB of maximum partition size.

FAT32 exFAT and NTFS
FAT32 exFAT and NTFS


FAT32 exFAT and NTFS: NTFS is the latest and modern file system that Windows prefers to use. At the time of installing windows, you must format the system drive with the NTFS file system.

The NTFS format provides theoretically huge file and with lots of partition size as well, which does not allow for lots of incompatibilities. NTFS appears for the first time in the Windows XP as one of the best tools.

Compatibility: As of now, it also works with all versions of Windows, while with the default Mac it works only for the purpose of reading, and works in read-only by default even with the latest and updated version of some Linux. Some of the other devices – with the exception of Microsoft Xbox One – probably will not support NTFS.

Limits: There is no limit on partition sizes.

FAT32 exFAT and NTFS
FAT32 exFAT and NTFS


FAT32 exFAT and NTFS: The exFAT format was introduced in the year 2006, and was added with previous versions of Windows, and has also been added to the starting with Windows XP and Windows Vista updates. This is a file system optimized for the purpose of flash drives.

It is merely designed to be as one of the most lightweight file systems which is also just like FAT32, without all the additional features of NTFS, but without the limitations of FAT32.

exFAT is also just like much more compatible with the NTFS. Although Mac OS X includes read-only support for the NTFS, Mac offers full read-write support for exFAT.

These types of drivers are more compatible with the Linux operating system by installing the appropriate software.

Compatibility: It also works well verse with all modern versions of Mac OS X and Windows, but requires additional software on Linux. Lots of devices support exFAT just apart from NTFS, but some – especially older ones – can only support FAT32.

Limits: There is also no real limit on partition sizes.

Ideal use: It is mainly used for the purpose of USB flash and some of the other external drives, especially if you need to store files with more than 4 GB in size.

FAT32 exFAT and NTFS
FAT32 exFAT and NTFS

You may also like to read:

How To Format An External Hard Drive/ USB Flash Drive for Mac OS X


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