The New Technology File System (NTFS) is the child of HPFS (High Performance File System) that was born from OS/2. OS/2 was a joint venture between Microsoft and IBM to replace DOS, a project dating back to the mid 1980's
The last operating system that supported HPFS was NT 3.51. Beginning with NT 4, it was possible to convert to NTFS from either FAT 16 or HPFS but no facility for creating an HPFS volume existed.
NTFS4 is quite often referred to simply as NTFS. The version number became appended with the release of Windows 2000, when a new and improved version of NTFS, version 5, was introduced. Windows NT requires a minimum of Service Pack 4 to be able to read NTFS 5 volumes, which is an important consideration if dual booting between the two operating systems on the same machine.
NTFS has many advantages over FAT, not least of which is advanced compression, improved integrity and reliability. The major advantages are directory and file level access controls. In the previous chapter, we discussed how to create user accounts and groups for the assignment of permissions. NTFS is the only file system that supports the adding of these attributes to files and folders; FAT does not. In other words, if you want to protect your data from some users whilst allowing access to others, NTFS is your only choice.
There is one disadvantage to NTFS however. The drivers and programs required to access an NTFS volume are so large that they cannot fit on a standard 1.44Mb floppy disk. This may not seem a major issue at first, but when disaster and data recovery is considered this can become a problem.
For FAT16 and FAT32 volumes, it is possible to create a bootable floppy disk that can read these volumes. If the operating system is corrupt, this provides a valuable method of recovering data. This technique is not available with Windows NT 4. Windows 2000 and XP have a facility known as the recovery console, but this does still rely on at least some of the operating system staying intact. There are ways to circumvent this issue, such as removing the faulty hard drive and installing as a second drive into a computer that has Windows NT, 2000 or XP installed, but there is a measure of risk in doing so. There are also third party tools to solve this problem such as NTFSDOS and ERD Commander; however, they do have a cost. It is not a major issue, but something to be aware of.10
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