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Hardware Thread, NTFS vs FAT32 Network Drive Backup in Technical; Hi, I am looking to backup our server data (ie teacher files) to an external hard disk. I have a ...
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    rocknrollstar's Avatar
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    NTFS vs FAT32 Network Drive Backup

    Hi, I am looking to backup our server data (ie teacher files) to an external hard disk. I have a program that will synchronise 2 folders, which is basically a backup of the server data. So that's all fine. It's a windows XP network, with 2000 server.

    My question is regarding NTFS and FAT32. The server hard drive is NTFS so that permissions can be used. Does the backup hard dirve also need to be NTFS for it to work? I.e is it possible to copy an NTFS file to a FAT32 drive? If so, I guess the file permissions would disappear, but they could be reset if a restore was needed.

    The reason for this is that it appears a networked external hard drive can't handle NTFS files, but they can handle FAT32 files.

    Also, is there a limit to a file size that can be stored on a FAT32 drive? I come across differing answers.

    Many thanks for your time.

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    Joanne's Avatar
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    FAT32 or NTFS: Making the Choice

    some info on there.

    There are limitations to FAT32... and it is old hat now. NTFS is much more secure and safe for your data... if anything gets corrupt it is easier to recover.

    I'd find an external drive that would do NTFS....

    In Windows XP, the maximum partition size that can be created using FAT32 is 32GB. This increases to 16TB (terabytes) using NTFS. There is a workaround for the 32GB limitation under FAT32, but it is a nuisance especially considering the size of drives currently being manufactured.

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    The File system the way that data is organised on a hard disk. The files never "change" and do not care what file system you store them on.

    NTFS is better than FAT32 especially on larger HD's. In Fact I can think of no valid reason why you would choose FAT over NTFS on today's hardware unless you are using a small USB drive.

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    I doubt you'd find a linux-based NAS that would handle NTFS, even though Linux has been able to handle the file system for a while now. Why not go for a USB dock and a few high-capacity drives (3.5" or 2.5" for that matter). Plug in one each day and perform an incremental backup. It would be like using tapes, but it would store more and you'd have multiple redundancy. When the drives are not being used, there are plenty of cases available to keep them safe.

    EDIT: Here's what I mean

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?...=14&doy=Search

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocknrollstar View Post
    Also, is there a limit to a file size that can be stored on a FAT32 drive? I come across differing answers.
    4GB, so DVD ISO images and large multimedia files (eg. unedited MPG videos from digital camcorders) may cause problems.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fafster View Post
    I doubt you'd find a linux-based NAS that would handle NTFS, even though Linux has been able to handle the file system for a while now.
    Read Write support is complete in Linux, however you would have to use a Windows machine to create and format the partitions on the drive to NTFS. You would also need to use a Windows machine if you wanted to chkdsk the drive.

    If you are thinking of implementing a Linux based NAS device I would suggest that one of the native Linux file system formats would be best. It's usually a choice between Ext2, Ext3, XFS, RiserFS and JFS. Personally for large volumes (especially where you want to use LVM2/EVMS and/or use extended ACLs for Windows file permissions compatibility) then I would go for JFS.

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    rocknrollstar's Avatar
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    Brilliant, thanks for your help. I think this summarises the reponse:
    If you want a Network attached storage device (NAS), at present drives are limited to FAT32, which can have the limitation of 4gb (although it can be formatted to NTFS, it can't be used as a NAS in NTFS format for some reason).

    However, a USB drive can be NTFS with no file size limitation, but must be accessed via a shared drive over the network (if network access is required).

    NTFS data can be coped to a FAT32 drive no problems (and vice versa).

    Thanks again.

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