NTFS i.e. New Technology File System, is a standard file system of Windows NT and all the later versions of Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, and not to forget Windows 7. It was introduced by Microsoft in 1993 along with Windows NT 3.1. This file system supersedes the previous one, as it has several improvements over FAT (File Allocation Table) and HPFS (High Performance File System). It is able to support hard drive up to 256 TB. Some of the improvisations include improved support for metadata, use of advanced data structures to improve performance, reliability, disk space utilization, etc. The additional features that come with it include, security access control lists and file system journaling.
The advantage over FAT and HPFS is that there are no special objects on the disk and there is no dependence on the underlying hardware. There are no special locations on the disk like FAT tables or HPFS super blocks.
File and Folder Permissions
With these permissions, you will be able to control access to every file on the volume. It is possible to configure permissions at each level of the directory structure, in order to meet your needs for giving and denying access to files and folders. At the same time, it is important to understand that there is a difference between share permission and NTFS permission.
There is a unique compression algorithm that it uses, which maintains the validity of data during decompression and also ensures that no data is lost while compressing and decompressing. At the same time, it allows users to compress individual documents, files, and also entire folders. Compression decreases the size and reduces the space occupied by various programs, folders, as well as files. Not only does it allow folder compression but also highlights compressed folders and files for easier identification.
Encrypting File System
There is a public/private key pair which is used by the encryption algorithm. This provides strong protection to files and folders which are extremely resistant to attack. The advantage of this technique is that it is completely transparent to the user and Windows XP supports multiple user access to any one of the encrypted files. However, its usage is mutually exclusive with its compression, which can be a disadvantage.
It is known to automatically scan drives, isolate faults, and repair them without any user intervention. All transaction logs are maintained and a track of all hard drive errors and disk failures are recorded. This helps in recovering the hard drive data.
There is greater reliability offered by this system, due to the higher rate of recoverability, removal of errors and sector failures, and automatic hot fixing. This method removes the limitations posed by FAT system, by increasing the size of volumes and files.
Due to the above mentioned advantages, NTFS has become more popular over the others. It has the disadvantage of inaccessible volumes in MS-DOS, Windows 95, and Windows 98. The other disadvantage is that when there are very small volumes which mostly contain small files, the overhead of managing it may cause slight performance drop in comparison to FAT. However, the disadvantages score over the advantages, hands down.