How to Choose the Best File System for Your External Hard Drive?

Hard Drive

When you buy a new hard drive or any other storage drive and are about to format it for the first time, you may wonder which file system format is the best. Well, there are several file systems in the market, but not one offers a complete solution to all your file management issues.

So, does that mean there is no point in having a certain file system? No, that’s not how it is. Different file systems mean they are made to offer different features according to users’ needs.

Before you can go with one file system, see what NTFS for Windows has to offer. The more you will know about the new technology file system, the easier it will be for you to decide on one for your system.

What Is A File System?

File systems ensure the flow of data. It defines your approach to accessing data from the system and storing data in the system. They also maintain logs that act as an index and store metadata about the original data.

If a particular hard drive is not formatted according to the system, the system is not able to read and write. Furthermore, the system will not be able to identify any of the other files in the partition and will just think that all the files present in that partition are one simple cluster of data.

Yes, not all file systems are universal, but there are instances where you can read a particular data from another file system but cannot write or make any changes to it.

For instance, when you format a particular drive into NTFS for Windows, you can use that file for Windows effortlessly. However, the moment you use the same data on macOS, the data can only be read, and the write operation is blocked.

How to Choose the Best File System?

When it comes down to which file system you must choose for your system, everything depends on your needs. Every file system is different and offers different features. Hence, the only way to select a file system is to paste your requirement template over the file system and see which feels tailor-made for you.

1. Type of The File System

While there are quite a few out there in the market, including android and Linux, we will only cover only the file system meant for Windows and Mac operating systems.

  • FAT32.
  • exFAT.
  • HFS+.
  • NTFS.
  • APFS.

2. Technical Superiority

With the NTFS in the market, why are people still using old file systems? The answer is simple, technical superiority. The new technology file system is more advanced than the old one and uses more space. When NTFS is working, more processes are initiated in the background making the system slower than usual at times.

So, in a sense, NTFS is a better file system theoretically, but it comes with a price of a bloated system. Now it is up to you what you want out of your system.

3. Compatibility & Portability

If we compare the FAT and NTFS, NTFS is more advanced. While Microsoft creates both the file system, NTFS is more powerful compared to FAT. However, if we talk about compatibility, FAT will be a better choice since NTFS-formatted drives can only be read on macOS. You can fulfill read-write access on Mac devices with the help of third-party NTFS for Mac software. 

Take Away

This article talks about how you should choose the right file system and lists the difference between FAT and NTFS. Once you have formatted the drive, there will be times when you would like to have a different partition to store data from different operating systems. By then, you may need other third-party applications. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!

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