NTFS File System with Versions and Features

NTFS File System came to light when Microsoft started releasing Windows NT operating system. New Technology file system was a great improvement over FAT file system so as to store and retrieve data on a hard disk. This article will clarify NTFS file system overview, its features, and advantages over its precursor.

Technical Overview of NTFS File System

The most popular file system of Windows operating system is NTFS File system with improved performance, scalability, and security as compared to its predecessors. NTFS uses smaller clusters to utilize disk space more efficiently. It supports maximum filename up to 255 characters, maximum partition size 2TB and maximum file size 16TB.
In NTFS File System, when a file is created, its entry is created in MFT (Master File Table) as a record which keeps track of a file's clusters that are scattered on a volume. To read entire file, MFT helps NTFS to locate required clusters in which a file resides.

Different versions of NTFS File System

  • NTFS v1.0- Microsoft introduced the first version of new technology file system with the release of Windows NT 3.1 in 1993.

  • NTFS v1.2- The second release of NT File System was with Windows NT 3.51 which provided features like compression, and access control list.

  • NTFS v3.0- Windows 2000 came up with the third release of NTFS that brought many new features like disk quotas, Encrypting File System, reparse points, sparse files, update sequence number (USN) journaling etc.

  • NTFS v3.1- The fourth edition of NTFS was released with Windows XP, the main motive behind releasing this version was making redundant MFT (master file table) entries so that damaged MFT files can be recovered.

Noteworthy Features of NTFS File System

NTFS file system provides many notable features like in order to improve performance NTFS uses b-tree data structure to keep record of file clusters. Main features of NTFS are listed below.

  • Self-healing NTFS- NT file system provides self-healing feature which detects and repair corruption on the NTFS volume or files at one fell swoop without having to run any disk repair utility.

  • ACL (Access Control List)- With NTFS, administrator can now set permissions using access control lists (ACL) which determines who else can access or modify a specific file.

  • File-Level Encryption- One of the noticeable feature of NTFS file system is file level encryption which protect your file content from unauthorized access.

  • Disk Quotas- The main feature of NTFS v3 is Disk Quotas which enables administrator to limit the disk space that a user may use. It also keep track of how much disk space is being used by each user. If a user cross the limit that has specified by administrator then he cannot store new data on a volume.

  • Reliable File System- NTFS File System automatically performs recovery operation, if system got shut down unexpectedly then NT file system checks for consistency by using transaction log and journal file.

  • File Compression- NTFS file system provides a new remarkable feature i.e. file compression. This feature allows user to compress large files so that disk space will be used efficiently.

Data loss problems in NTFS File System

New technology file system users may face data loss in spite of its several benefits in recovery, and self-healing property. The most common situation is when users accidentally delete data either via shift+Del or via recycle bin. However, there are many other reasons that cause data loss or corruption like virus infection, sudden power outage, windows operating system or hard disk failure. If your data have been lost, deleted, or corrupt then it can easily be recovered using an application called Windows data recovery software.