Microsoft Windows File Systems: Comparison And Contrast Essay


Microsoft Windows File Systems: Comparison and Contrast The standard versions of Windows use three types of file systems: FAT, exFAT, and NTFS. Windows 8 server also uses ReFS. The 8 server (Windows Server 2012) is the only version that uses that type of file system, as the other versions of Windows are not able to boot from that type of file system at all. In order to better understand these file systems, it is very important to compare and contrast what they have to offer. Since the ReFS files are only used by Windows 8 server, they will be discussed first. Then the information can move on toward the more commonly used files within the Windows system.

ReFS is a file type used only for Windows 8 server. It stands for Resilient File System, and was designed to be for file servers only (Russinovich, Solomon, & Ionescu, 2009). It is similar to NTFS, but improves upon that file system in several key ways. The reliability that is seen with on-disc structures is much better with ReFS, for example. B+ trees are used for file data and metadata. 64-bit numbers limit the number of files, along with the total volume size, the file size, the number of files that can fit into a directory, and also the number of directories that make up a volume. Maximum file size is 16 Exabytes, with a maximum total volume size of 1 Yottabyte that contains clusters of 64 Kilobytes each (Porter, et al., 2009; Russinovich, Solomon, & Ionescu, 2009). That allows a large scalability but put no practical limits on the directory and file sizes. The only limitations come from the hardware side of the equation. Resilience is built in to the file system, and new system APIs are not needed in order...


Many of the NTFS and Windows features are supported by ReFS, as well, making its use easier for the clients who change over to Windows 8 server.
The FAT (File Allocation Table) file type is among the most common kinds of files used. Nearly all operating systems that are in use today on personal computers of any kind will support this file type. All versions of Windows can and do use FAT for a large number of applications. It is a very good format for exchange, since it is nearly universal. FAT has been expanding since its beginning as FAT12. It is currently FAT32, and may change again in the future. Codepage support, subdirectories, long filenames, and other attributes have been added to FAT as it has grown and changed (Carrier, 2005; Giampaolo, 1999; Mitchell, 1997). FAT12 and FAT16 were both very limited versions of this type of file, because they limited the entries that could appear within the root directory (Custer, 1994; McCoy, 1990). Disks or partitions that were FAT-formatted also had size restrictions. When FAT32 came out, it addressed many of those issues with the exception of a file size limit which is still 4 Gigabytes (Nagar, 1997; Pate, 2003; Silberschatz, Galvin, & Gagne, 2004). FAT is limited when compared to NTFS, but because it is so widely used and so interchangeable among various types of personal computers, there is little chance that FAT will be abandoned as a file type at any point in the near future.

Another file type, exFAT, is patent-protected because it is a proprietary system (Russinovich, Solomon, & Ionescu, 2009). When it comes to the file system overhead, there are benefits to exFAT over FAT…

Sources Used in Documents:


Carrier, B. (2005). File System Forensic Analysis. NY: Addison-Wesley.

Custer, H. (1994). Inside the Windows NT File System. CA: Microsoft Press.

Giampaolo, D. (1999) (PDF). Practical File System Design with the Be File System. NY: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

McCoy, K. (1990). VMS File System Internals. VAX-VMS Series. NY: Digital Press.

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