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Oh, boy ... I knew that was coming; I just didn't know from what direction! LOL!
I've really tried to avoid stating my file system preference online (including a lengthy, and possibly troll-worthy explanation), but you caught me. Okay, here goes ...
For these reasons:
I think journaling files systems are slower, despite Microsoft's claims to the contrary, and this can be particularly noticeable with systems that have a lot of 3D games.
I still like the idea of being able to access a partition from DOS for repairs to the partitions, the OS and the file system, without necessarily being restricted to either using the Recovery Console, or buying a $300.00 copy of NTFSDOS Pro so a user can have read/write access to a NTFS partition when dual-booting with an older OS.
I've never really liked the idea of limiting my options when it comes to repairing an operating system when the Windows drivers and files are not loaded and running. If I can have both DOS and the Recovery Console, then I'll take both.
In addition, providing support of this type to users who are accustomed to running older operating systems with FAT32 is easier, IMO, than taking them through the process of accessing and running the <A HREF="http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/en/server/help/default.asp?url=/windows2000/en/server/help/recovery_console_cmds.htm" target="_new">commands</A> in the Recovery Console. (You also have to list and explain those commands, as most users are totally unfamiliar with them). And getting to the Console is a slow process, with it either needing to be listed as an option in the boot, or accessed after running all the way through the text setup on the OS CD. Booting to DOS is much faster, although less powerful.
I've noticed some problems with prefetching in WinXP, which only comes into play with NTFS. If a system develops an IRQ conflict with a device that has a driver that is being prefetched, even taking the system "back" with a System Recovery Point may not temporarily repair the problem. I don't care for the prefetching because of this, and it's not an issue with FAT32. I don't think prefetching is necessary for a properly configured system. My backup computer cold-boots in 23 seconds flat without prefetching, which I think is an acceptable boot speed. My main rig is slower, but not by much.
NTFS may provide better security, but I fail to see the advantage of that on a single-user home desktop system. As the only user, I have already given myself control over the file permissions, ownership, and auditing. I also don't see the point of the file compression feature, not with the size and price per megabyte of modern hard drives. Furthermore, compressed files can't be encrypted, and accessing compressed files slows down performance, because Windows must decompress and compress the files as you open and close them. And I already own several file compression utilities, so this feature means little to me.
Despite the 4K cluster sizes, the amount of slack space gained from running NTFS is, IMHO, not enough to justify the loss of DOS access to the partitions.
Because NTFS is a transaction logging system, it supposedly has a better record for recovery from power failures that might result in data loss. But in my real world experience, both file systems are susceptible to data loss of this nature, with FAT32 being only slightly less robust than NTFS.
Personally, I've had better luck with recovering data on FAT32-formatted partitions. And when running software like Drive Image, I've also had better luck creating and transferring valid images to CD-R disks that were made of FAT32-formatted partitions than those that were NTFS.
In addition, I have seen several systems that have been upgraded from Win98 to Win2K or WinXP, and then had the file system converted from FAT32 to NTFS. All of these systems turned out to be highly unstable, displayed many difficulties with errors when attempting to install programs, had more compatibility issues with a larger database of software, and eventually required a format. I don't think the 512 byte cluster size can assume all the blame for this kind of problem. Most of it was due to upgrading, of course, but the great majority of the problems <i>didn't</i> arise until the file system conversion, especially pertaining to the errors when installing third-party software and games.
Finally, since I don't work with files that are 4GB in size or larger, it is for these reasons that I prefer FAT32 for my own systems. I think NTFS is overkill for a home desktop system unless you intend to run with one massive partition (over 32GB) and work with extremely large files.
I expect some people are going to violently disagree with this, but that's the nature of the game when you express your opinions online!
Thanks for your thoughts, Toey. I like reading your explanations...they're so thorough.
<font color=red><b>Site Update</b></font color=red>
<A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com" target="_new">btvillarin.com</A> isn't down <i>yet</i>. My host (<A HREF="http://www.cyberwings.com" target="_new">Cyberwings</A> is doing a physical move to a location in North Virginia, that's estimated for 3 days. If you have site thru them, keep up to date by checking <A HREF="http://www.cwstatus.com" target="_new">here</A> periodically. (Note: That was just created today, so it'll be up in 2-3 days.) My alternate email address is in my profile.