What's the difference between FAT32, FAT16 and NTFS?
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
FAT16 is the original file system used in DOS and Windows 3.x, and was originally only designed for use on relatively small partitions. It's been revised so that it's possible to make a FAT16 partition up to 4GB in size, but no more than that. FAT32 is a revised version of FAT16 that can be used to create much larger partitions and has native support for long filenames, and was introduced with Win98. Both FAT16 and FAT32 are also backwards- and cross-compatible with older versions of Windows and other OSes. However, both FAT16 and FAT32 suffer from many drawbacks: they have weak error recovery and no built-in file security, just to name two. NTFS, which was introduced with Windows NT, is much more secure and robust than FAT16 or FAT32, and offers better recovery from errors. NTFS is now offered on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server, although all of the above OS's can also use FAT16 or FAT32. It's generally recommended that NTFS be used except when backwards compatibility is urgently needed.
Dig Deeper on Windows Operating System Management
Related Q&A from Serdar Yegulalp
This week, our expert answers the question of how to get DVD data off a disc, even if the user's PC doesn't have an optical drive.continue reading
This week, our expert answers a question on how to connect a phone or tablet to a USB drive with a micro-USB connector.continue reading
Open source and free suites such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice could save organizations money, but not effort in comparison with Microsoft Office.continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.