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Last Updated December 10, 2003

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Windows 2000 File Systems (FAT, FAT32, NTFS)

Windows 2000 supports a number of file systems, including FAT, FAT32, and NTFS. For most administrators, NTFS is the logical choice for performance and security. For those who can't decide, here are the technical articles and comparisons between file systems, as well as instructional articles and how to convert and troubleshoot file system problems.

Where to Start
Exploring the NTFS and FAT file systems
Overview of NTFS and FAT, the factors that will determine which of these file systems you'll use, explanations of the differences between the two file systems, and some important implementation considerations for each. Source: Windows NT Professional Magazine (Jan 1999)

Inside NTFS
A detailed look at how NTFS works to help you recover from file system corruption. Source: Windows NT Systems Magazine (July 1999)

New Capabilities and Features of the NTFS 5.0 File System
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 183090 Windows 2000 contain new features that are available only with the NTFS file system. This article outlines the features and advantages of converting to the NTFS file system with Windows 2000.

NTFS5 vs. FAT32
Meet Win2K©s new file systems, learn about their features, and find out how and when to use NTFS5 and FAT32.
Source: Windows & .NET Magazine (May 2000)

WebCast: New File System Technologies in Microsoft Windows 2000  
Level:200 During this session, we will introduce the new file system technologies that are supported in Microsoft Windows 2000. We will also discuss features like mount points, disk quotas, pre-parse points, and sparse file support.

 Articles worth Reading... 

Default Cluster Size for FAT and NTFS
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 140365 All file systems used by Windows NT organize your hard disk based upon cluster (or allocation unit) size, which represents the smallest amount of disk space which can be allocated to hold a file. 

Default File System Choices During Windows 2000 Setup
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 211249 - During the text-based portion of Windows 2000 Setup, you can choose to convert your hard disk from the FAT32 file system to the NTFS file system. There are many benefits to converting to the NTFS file system, including increased file security

Default NTFS Permissions in Windows NT
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 148437 This article lists default permissions of an drive that has been formatted to NTFS for the first time.

Default NTFS Permissions in Windows 2000
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 244600 - This article lists the default permissions on a drive that has been formatted with the NTFS file system for the first time. Some of these folders are hidden by default. 

Examining the Master File Table
A guide to working with MFT's from Michael Frederick. Source: Windows NT Systems Magazine (June 1997)

File System Conversion Behavior During Windows 2000 Setup 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 197056 - When you install Windows 2000 using Winnt32.exe, you may receive the option to upgrade the existing file system on the volume on which Windows 2000 is being installed to the NTFS file system. If you choose to do so, the file systems on other volumes 

Free Space Required to Convert FAT to NTFS
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 156560 The conversion of a disk partition from the FAT file system to NTFS requires a certain amount of free disk space be available in order to build the NTFS disk structures. This article provides a description of the process. 

How NTFS Reserves Space for its Master File Table (MFT) 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 174619 - The NTFS file system contains at its core, a file called the master file table (MFT). There is at least one entry in the MFT for every file on an NTFS volume, including the MFT itself. 

NTFS Access Control Security Enhancements
Win2K and SP4©s SCM provide access control improvements, such as granularity enhancements and dynamic inheritance.Source: Windows & .NET Magazine (May 2000)

Optimizing NTFS
Reprint of a Windows NT Magazine Article by Sean Daily Source: Microsoft TechNet CD Online (Sept 1999)

Usage of NTFS 5.0 Junctions in the Sysvol Folder 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 186750 - The %SystemRoot%\Sysvol folder on a Windows 2000 domain controller is used to replicate file-based data among domain controllers. Because junctions are used within the Sysvol folder structure, Windows NT file system (NTFS) version 5.0 is required on domain controllers throughout a Windows 2000 distributed file system (DFS) forest.

Windows 2000 Setup Upgrades Existing NTFS File System Volumes 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 198904 - When you install Windows 2000, existing NTFS volumes are upgraded to a newer version of the NTFS file system. This newer version of the NTFS file system includes capabilities such as disk quotas, encrypted files, journaling, and a number of other features that Windows 2000 components rely on to function correctly.

How to Articles...

How to Create and Manipulate NTFS Junction Points
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 205524 - With NTFS junction points you can surpass the 26 drive letter limitation. By using junction points, you can graft a target folder onto another NTFS folder or "mount" a volume onto an NTFS junction point. 

HOW TO: Control NTFS Permissions Inheritance in Windows 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 313398 - This step-by-step article describes how to control NTFS permissions inheritance.

How to Disable the 8.3 Name Creation on NTFS Partitions
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 121007 The creation of 8.3 filenames and directories for all long filenames and directories on NTFS partitions may decrease directory enumeration performance. This article describes a method of disabling the 8.3 name creation on all NTFS partitions.

How NTFS Reserves Space for its Master File Table (MFT) 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 174619 The NTFS file system contains at its core, a file called the master file table (MFT). There is at least one entry in the MFT for every file on an NTFS volume, including the MFT itself.

How To Cancel NTFS Conversion After Running CONVERT.EXE
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 130913 The CONVERT utility (CONVERT.EXE) is used to convert an existing FAT or HPFS partition to an NTFS partition. The CONVERT utility converts the partition to NTFS the next time the system reboots.

How to Create and Manipulate NTFS Junction Points
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 205524 With NTFS junction points you can surpass the 26 drive letter limitation. By using junction points, you can graft a target folder onto another NTFS folder or "mount" a volume onto an NTFS junction point.

HOW TO: Set Up a Windows 2000 File System for Secure Access
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 300691 - At a basic level, file system security begins by choosing the appropriate file system. Windows 2000 includes three different file systems: NTFS, FAT32, and FAT. 

How to Use Convert.exe to Convert a Partition to the NTFS File System
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 214579 Windows NT 4.0 supports two disk file systems: the FAT file system and the NTFS file system. This article explains how to convert a FAT partition into an NTFS partition, and the considerations to take into account. 

How to Recover an Accidentally Deleted NTFS or FAT32 Dynamic Volume
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 245725 - If a Windows 2000 NTFS or FAT32 dynamic volume is accidentally deleted by using the Disk Management snap-in, you may be able to recover the volume and the data contained on it. You can do this only if a new volume has not been created and formatted in its place.

How to Restore the Default NTFS Permissions for Windows 2000
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 266118 - This article describes how to restore the default NTFS file system permissions in Windows 2000.

Troubleshooting: Known Bugs and Issues

Troubleshooting Windows NT File Systems
Troubleshooting Windows NT File Systems Tweak your file systems This month I discuss how to improve your file system performance and how to manipulate the way Windows NT handles file systems. How do I convert a FAT or High-Performance File System (HPFS) partition to NTFS? You can use Windows NT's convert.exe utility to convert a FAT or HPFS partition to NTFS. Source: Windows & .NET Magazine (August 1998)

Troubleshooting Stop 0x24 or NTFS_FILE_SYSTEM Error Messages 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 228888 - When you run Windows 2000, you may receive either of the following error messages: 

"Access Is Denied" Error Message Appears When Permissions Are Correct
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 250494 - When you attempt to access a file on an NTFS volume, you may receive an "Access is Denied" error message. Inspection of the file's NTFS permissions indicates that you should be able to access the file.

A File Cannot Be Deleted or Accessed on an NTFS Volume
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 159199 A file or directory on an NTFS volume cannot be deleted or accessed. Windows NT returns an "Access Denied" error message when you attempt to manipulate the file. 

An NTFS Directory May Become Corrupted
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 194336 An NTFS directory may become corrupted, resulting in an error message appearing that states that a file or directory is corrupted. Note that this is not the only reason a user may see this pop-up message.

Cannot Convert FAT32 to NTFS with IDE Drive Larger Than 20 GB
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 271644 - If you install Windows 2000 from a CD-ROM to a 20-gigabyte (GB) hard disk that uses the FAT32 file system, the installation succeeds. However, when you attempt to convert the file system to the NTFS file system by using the convert c: /fs:ntfs command, the conversion may not succeed. You may receive the following error message, even though the hard disk has more than 18 GB of free space: Conversion failed, not enough disk space on drive.

Cannot Revise Decision to Convert to NTFS During Upgrade
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 227718 - When you select the "Upgrade to Windows 2000" option during during the installation of Windows 2000 from an earlier version of Windows, you are prompted to upgrade the system partition to the NTFS file system. 

Chkdsk Does Not Use Backup Boot Sector to Fix Corrupted FAT32 Boot Sector
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 247575 - If a FAT32 volume becomes corrupted or inaccessible and you attempt to repair the volume using the Chkdsk tool (Chkdsk.exe), the file system may be reported correctly as FAT32 (or possibly as RAW, depending on the damage), but the Chkdsk tool immediately quits without making repairs. 

The Default NTFS Permissions Are Not Applied to a Converted Boot Partition 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 237399 -
When you install Windows 2000 to an NTFS file system partition, part of the set up process is to apply default security settings to the system files and folders located on the boot partition.

"Disk Read Error Occurred" When Converting Boot Drive to NTFS
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 222996 - After you successfully install Windows NT/2000 on a system partition that uses the FAT16 file system and then convert that partition to the NTFS file system, you may receive the following error message when you restart your computer: 

Dskprobe.exe May Damage FAT32 Boot Sector
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 246146 - Windows 2000 supports the FAT, FAT32, and NTFS file systems. If you use any version of the the Dskprobe.exe utility except the version that is included on the Windows 2000 CD-ROM or in the Microsoft Windows 2000 Resource Kit to view and then save a FAT32 boot sector, the associated FAT32 partition may become unreadable. When this occurs, the Windows 2000 Chkdsk tool reports that the volume contains errors, but does not fix them. 

Error Message: The File or Directory Is Corrupt...
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 176646 - This behavior can occur if the file, folder or file system index (Master File Table [MFT] or File Allocation Table [FAT]) is damaged. 

Error Message: Windows 2000 Is Installed on a Drive Formatted with the OS/2 File System (HPFS)
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 270070 - When you upgrade a system running Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server to Windows 2000, you may receive the following error message after you enter the alphanumeric product key: Windows 2000 is installed on a drive formatted with the OS/2 File System (HPFS). Windows 2000 does not support this file system. You must convert this drive to the Windows 2000 File System (NTFS) before upgrading. This error message occurs even though you do not have any (unsupported) HPFS volumes on the system. 

FAT32 to NTFS File System Conversion Does Not Work When Using Sysprep
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 259303 - When you attempt to convert a partition from FAT32 file system to NTFS file system during a Sysprep cloning operation, the conversion may be unsuccessful. Depending on the method you use to attempt the conversion, there is either no error message.

NTFS Corruption on Drives Larger Than 4 GB When Using Windows NT ExtendOEMPartition
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 185773 Using Winnt.exe unattended installation from an MS-DOS FAT partition on a drive exceeding 4 GB may cause NTFS corruption. Unattended installation parameters would be specified in the Unattend.txt file 

Repairing a Blown-Out NT Boot Sector
Repairing a Blown-Out NT Boot Sector The multi-OS management world is riddled with danger. An OS or disk-management utility that overwrites the Windows NT-created boot sector on the first hard disk's primary partition is a common problem. During setup, select the Recovery option (use your Emergency Repair Disk--ERD), select only the option to inspect the boot sector, and let NT repair the boot sector. Source: Windows & .NET Magazine (July 1999)

The Default NTFS Permissions Are Not Applied to a Converted Boot Partition
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 237399 - When you install Windows 2000 to an NTFS partition, part of the set up process is to apply default security settings to the system files and folders located on the boot partition.

You Cannot Configure NTFS Permissions to Hide Files or Folders from Unauthorized Users 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 303758 - Novell NetWare administrators can configure permissions so that users cannot see files or folders in the file system for which the users do not have Read access by removing the File Scan (F) permission. This type of access control is not supported by the NTFS file system. Therefore, users can view the contents of any folder for which the user has the List permission. Removing the List permission for the folder prevents the user from gaining access to any file in the folder. 

 

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