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USB Flash Drive Comparison Part 2 — FAT32 Vs. NTFS

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the get-your-data-past-the-border-guards dept.

Data Storage 198

Dampeal writes "Ok, a little while back I ran a somewhat large USB Flash Drive Comparison with 21 drives compared, today I got part two of that comparison. I've taken the 8gig and 4 gig drives, nine in total, and formatted them FAT32, NTFS and ExFAT and ran all of the tests over again for a comparison of how the file systems work on the drives." Good news — after some exhaustively graphed testing scenarios, the author comes to a nice conclusion for lazy people, writing "[I]n my opinion the all around best choice is FAT32, or the default for most all USB drives out there today, it seems to give us the best average performance overall."

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198 comments

Great (4, Informative)

Chih (1284150) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624341)

I'm lazy, so it's good to know that the default setting is the best.

Re:Great (2, Funny)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624443)

Wow, who would have thought that the manufacturers would have chosen the best option?

Re:Great (3, Informative)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625405)

Define "best". The manufacturers will have selected FAT32 based on compatibility. The test shows that it's a good choice for performance too.

Re:Great (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26624473)

I'm too lazy to even care.

Re:Great (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26625051)

I'm too lazy to even care.

Morla, is that you?

Re:Great (3, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626619)

Wow... Neverending Story reference on Slashdot?

Way to make me feel old, asshole. ;)

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26625639)

I'm too lazy to read your post...

Re:Great (1)

dimension6 (558538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626193)

...and I'm too lazy to write a reply to your post.

Re:Great (1)

digitrev (989335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626889)

Whereas I'm too lazy to reply to anyone who replies to me.

Re:Great (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624555)

What about ext2 and other filesystems then?

Installing the ext2 driver? (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625509)

What about ext2 and other filesystems then?

Ninety percent of desktop PCs run Windows, and for interchange among the public, file systems that most PCs running Windows cannot read aren't worth testing. If you format your USB drive as ext2 and carry it to someone else's PC, you'll need to 1. carry a CD or a second USB drive with the ext2 driver [fs-driver.org] and 2. get admin rights in order to install it on someone else's PC. It'd be like the Windows 9x days, when you needed to carry a floppy disk with the USB mass storage class driver whenever you used someone else's computer.

You can partition flash drives (3, Interesting)

Rix (54095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625597)

So you could just have a small partition holding the ext2 driver. Not really worth the effort for that, but it makes sense for things like truecrypt.

Re:Installing the ext2 driver? (1)

emj (15659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626421)

Don't bother with vfat, use what is best for your computer. And as an extension of what is stated bellow you can always install drivers for ext2 + a bootable Linux on the flash drive. A whopping 50MB would be needed.

Re:Installing the ext2 driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26627229)

I noticed (on a USB hard-drive, big one) that ext3 performed miles above vfat (at least on Linux).

Re:Installing the ext2 driver? (2, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627413)

I use USB-pens to securly transfere my data from A -> B, gpg keys, documents, etc. Just because you use your USB-pens to spread viruses between windows pcs doesn't mean everybody does! I'd be quite interested to see ext2 vs reiserfs vs jfs vs fat.

Re:Great (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626845)

Unfortunately FAT32 is the only universally supported file system. You can be sure pretty much any machine you put your USB flash drive in will read and write it. Most embedded systems only support FAT/FAT32 as well (e.g. TVs, cameras, car head units etc.)

The reason it's unfortunate is that FAT32 is not journalled, so not exactly ideal for a removal storage device.

NTFS probably comes second, since obviously Windows 2000/XP/Vista fully support it and you can at least read, if not write it on Linux/Mac.

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627691)

If you don't need to write to the drive from XP then UDF is a possibility, it's about 3x faster than even FAT16 under Vista for small files and is supported by almost all current OS's (OSX 10.5, Linux 2.6.10+, Vista/Win7, AIX, etc) so eventually it shouldn't be a problem unless you need to use it with an embedded type device. If MS asks too much for exFAT I can see embedded players supporting UDF for large filesystems.

Re:Great (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627919)

Is there a simple way to format a USB drive as UDF in Windows? Normally you only get FAT, FAT32, NTFS and if on Vista exFAT.

Re:Great (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628407)

FORMAT X: /FS:UDF from Vista.

Re:Great (0, Offtopic)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625181)

That's not true generally though. For example if you buy a cheap laptop with the default choice of Windows Vista Home Basic you will die of aids AND cancer.

That's why it's important to read the tech sites EVERY DAY.

No JFFS2? (3, Insightful)

garbletext (669861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624435)

Since interoperability is key in this context, anything besides FAT32 is hopelessly esoteric. So why not test the OSS solution as well?

Re:No JFFS2? (1)

tabrisnet (722816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624749)

OSS is part of a healthy diet and all, but JFFS{,2} is for raw flash, not for flash with an IDE front-end.

Same applies to SSDs? (4, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624477)

The question about filesystems has come up a few times over on the Dell Mini forums. Basically the question is which is better to use on machines with SSDs? If you're not dealing with >4GB files, several people have suggested that you're better off formatting the drive as FAT32. I'll need to take a better look at this article when I get a chance, but it seems to be suggesting the same thing.

Don't install your OS on FAT32... (5, Informative)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624741)

The question about filesystems has come up a few times over on the Dell Mini forums. Basically the question is which is better to use on machines with SSDs? If you're not dealing with >4GB files, several people have suggested that you're better off formatting the drive as FAT32. I'll need to take a better look at this article when I get a chance, but it seems to be suggesting the same thing.

FAT32 is fine for a USB stick, but you shouldn't install an OS on it. The problem is that FAT32 has no concept of file ownership. So your operating system will be unable to restrict access to files based on the user, which is one of the building blocks of security on any modern OS. This way, any (malicious) process running on the system can overwrite critical system files to do arbitrary damage.

Even if you run windows XP as adminstrator, not all processes on your system run as administrator so you will still be (slightly) decreasing security by having it on a FAT32 filesystem.

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26626073)

Permissions on XP are screwed and hurt more than they help. Being unable to delete/move some files even as Administrator in single user mode is bullshit.

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626443)

You might want to scan your computer for SecuROM, then, considering one of it's first priority tasks is to usurp your Administrative privileges.

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626787)

Agreed, I had two files left over from installing Bioshock that couldn't be moved if I used a sledgehammer, for all I know. Nothing I did worked and I ended up giving up trying to move or remove them.

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (3, Informative)

repvik (96666) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626853)

Google "unlocker". Very useful tool.

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627971)

When we impeach Bush, can we do something about Memphis' "King Willie" please?

Psssst. Might wanna change your sig. Bush is no longer a sitting president and hence, can't be impeached.

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628481)

Impeach: 1. To make an accusation against.
      2. To charge (a public official) with improper conduct in office before a proper tribunal.

We can still Impeach Bush. Doesn't matter if he's sitting President or not.

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (2, Informative)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627147)

This.

While all my computers are part of a domain (so my user name works on all of them and has full rights), I sometimes have problems with hard drives that I connect from other (people brought me to reinstall Windows). Now, ideally I would connect the drive to my PC, if the drive has enough free space left (>3GB), I would just move all current directories to a new one, say c:\__old, then install Windows. The owner of that PC would save what files are important to him and delete the rest of __old. However, if the drive is NTFS, sometimes I have problems moving or deleting the Windows directory because I do not have enough permissions and taking ownership does not work. Then I can only copy all other files to some other HDD or tape, format the drive in question and copy the files back. And then I just think how glad I am that the system drive of my main PC is FAT32.

Also, FAT32 has a second copy of the FAT on the drive, so if anything bad happens (say, a bad sector) to the first copy, you can restore it. If a bad sector appears in the $MFT of NTFS - you just lost a number of files. Anyone know of a software solution that can keep an updated copy of the MFT somewhere on the drive (or on some other drive)?

On the other hand, NTFS supports 64KB cluster size, while FAT32 supports only 32KB. That and >4GB file support made me use NTFS on some hard drives, because HD movies are usually >4GB in size...

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26626133)

So when you add security checks to the chain of procedures, things slow down a bit? Fancy that! ;) No wonder my parents' old Pentium/60MHz blazed through Windows 3.1 but could only just keep up with Windows 95... damn those extra layers of operating system!

Can't we just go back to DOS, back before the ability to nest directories inside of each other? =)
-- os

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26626241)

And also don't copy important material. Flash memories are the safest one. Somewhere a have red that it can store data up to 10 years. But What is it good for if data lost it's integrity? FAT doesn't have any self correcting mechanism or journal storage or any redundancy. So if something bad happens to FAT it is big problem to put files together. On the other hand NTFS has evil mechanism of Alternate data streams that store some crap like that the origin of the file is from internet (who cares?), but most usage of this stupid mechanism is for hiding viruses & co.

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626915)

Another issue for a lot of people is that FAT32 does not support Unicode for file names. In other words, if your Windows system is English you can't save files with Japanese names on a FAT32 drive.

NTFS and ext2 fully support Unicode. I usually use Unicode on my flash drives, and despite what the article suggests it does not seem to affect performance noticeably.

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (0, Offtopic)

ucd_michael (986017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627125)

you can't save files with Japanese names on a FAT32 drive

Did somebody just say 'Weeaboo?' 'cause I think I just heard someone say 'Weeaboo'

Re:Don't install your OS on FAT32... (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627683)

Why does this have to be ingrained into the file system? Why can't it just be as simple as not allowing non-system processes to write to system directories like C:\Windows?

Re:Same applies to SSDs? (1)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627903)

The differences between filesystems is not that surprising and you can see a common trend across all of the USB flash drives. This is a good heads-up comparison of the filesystems.

I have a great interest in the differences between manufacturers and models of the flash-drives. You can clearly see who is using faster chips and who is using the dregs out of a bucket full of memory chips. The filesystem comparisons are dwarfed by the hardware speed.

Once a USB flash-drive is put in a convenient plastic case no-one ever looks at access speed. While we all debate the advantages of filesystems and USB 1.0, 1.1 or 2.0 we sometimes forget that it's the chip that becomes the factor limiting performance.

When have you ever seen a USB flash drive that lists the access times in uSec? We all look with great interest at RAM, hard-drive access speeds, video performance yet we treat a USB flash drive like a mouse.

not so fast (5, Informative)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624505)

FAT32 is great, unless you want to exceed the 4gb filesize limit. In which case you will need an alternative.

Re:not so fast (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625561)

You mean like exFAT? Which, as far as I'm aware, is basically just FAT64. I.e. it's got all the "benefits" of FAT32 without the filesize limit, probably at the cost of a bit of performance.

Re:not so fast (2, Informative)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626071)

The only benefit of FAT32 is compatibility. exFAT does not have that.

Re:not so fast (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626229)

I'd wager that it's more compatible than NTFS, though.
Still, it's not ideal and I agree with what you're saying.

Re:not so fast (3, Informative)

TemporalBeing (803363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627489)

exFAT has as much in common with FAT32 as does NTFS. Microsoft made a big change with a purposeful break from backwards compatibility. So while it may be a 64-bit compatible FAT implementation, it doesn't share anything with the older FAT file systems - even FAT32. So no, no more compatibility whatsoever than NTFS.

Re:not so fast (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628079)

Ah but I have 4 million 1K files do I still use FAT? FAT32 is quite crap really but in the situation of USB flash drive it may not encounter some of it's issues.

NTFS patten? (2, Interesting)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624525)

I thought NTFS had a patten on it which is why they used FAT32 instead.

Re:NTFS patten? (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624663)

Do you mean "patent"?

Re:NTFS patten? (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624727)

No, I think he meant "Patton". Having Patton on me is the last thing I'd want.

Re:NTFS patten? (4, Funny)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625193)

He did, unfortunately there is a patten on that word.

Re:NTFS patten? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26625389)

Would it not be a trademar instead of a patten?

Re:NTFS patten? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26625463)

No, it's a traddemak.

Re:NTFS patten? (4, Funny)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626991)

You clearly mean treadmark. Which may have been left by a Patton, if he ran over your flash drive with his Jeep.

Re:NTFS patten? (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625555)

It only has a patent on it if you say it like the British do: "pay-tent". If you say it like a true American -- "pah-tent", then there's no law broken.

Re:NTFS patten? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625635)

dammit.

Actually I did write Patton the first time, and then I changed it to patten.

Which is apparently a type of shoe.

Question (3, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624537)

If I format one of these with ReiserFS, am I still okay to take it through airport security?

Re:Question (3, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624835)

Better question: Will the USB drive die faster with ReiserFS?

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26624937)

You might have trouble finding your files on ReiserFS.

Re:Question (3, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627087)

You might have trouble finding your files on ReiserFS.

Nah, you just have to dig around a bit in the directories. They're rarely very far from where you last saw them.

Re:Question (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625335)

If you chop it into bits they won't be able to find it.

Re:Question (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628097)

Another Linux-related question: If I format the USB drive with ReiserFS, am I restricted to using it only in a chroot jail?

Re:Question (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628557)

I lost my ReiserFS-formatted drive. It must be somewhere in Russia.

Size matters (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624577)

Did he run tests with 16GB files?

Re:Size matters (4, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624857)

Did he run tests with 16GB files?

FTA: "I've taken the 8gig and 4 gig drives, nine in total"


FTA: "I used a 350MB .AVI Video file for all testing.".


More importantly, he couldn't use a 16GB file, since FAT32 doesn't support single files over 4GB.

Re:Size matters (5, Funny)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625807)

Did he run tests with 16GB files?

...
More importantly, he couldn't use a 16GB file, since
FAT32 doesn't support single files over 4GB.

And because 4GB drives don't support files over 4GB.

Re:Size matters (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626821)

And because "4 GB" drives don't support files much larger than 3.72529 GB.

Re:Size matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26627399)

And because 4GB drives don't support files over 4GB.

Yeah, just another stupid Windows limitation

Re:Size matters (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627123)

Did he run tests with 16GB files?

FTA: "I've taken the 8gig and 4 gig drives, nine in total"

FTA: "I used a 350MB .AVI Video file for all testing.".

More importantly, he couldn't use a 16GB file, since
FAT32 doesn't support single files over 4GB.

Which is a real shame since I was really looking forward to seeing his technique for fitting those 16GB files on 8 or 4GB drives. Curse you Microsoft !

Re:Size matters (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628143)

$ bzip2 -f9 foo

Re:Size matters (2, Interesting)

TemporalBeing (803363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627571)

FAT32 doesn't support single files over 4GB.

True, but it will happily install (at least using the Linux Kernel's driver for it) on any size drive. I did that a few years ago for a backup drive that had to be accessible from Linux as well as Windows. Windows would only allow the FS to format to 32GB; while the Linux driver let it take up the whole drive (120GB? can't quite remember). The real funny thing was that Windows was happy to work with the drive afterwards and didn't complain whatsoever about the larger than 32GB FAT32 FS on it - and I filled more than the 32GB.

However, FAT32 does come at a high overhead price. I know I lost a few GB just to the formatting alone.

P.S. I no longer have access to that drive, otherwise, I'd pull up the real size/usage for it.

Re:Size matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26628717)

I had 120 GB FAT32 drive as well. I think Windows 98 didn't have the 32GB restriction.
It was very nice while I still dual-booted win98/Linux, but video recording was limited to 10 minute pieces because of the file size limit.

Occasionally I use rar (without compression) to split and recombine files if I need to move it using an flash drive.

incomplete tests (3, Interesting)

PatentMagus (1083289) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624659)

I wish there were tests covering "typical user mishaps". Things like inopportune powerdowns and flash drive yanking. My anecdotal evidence is that I've never had issues with FAT32 but have had entire NTFS partitions become unreadable. It's just anecdote though. Now throw a truecrypt file into the mix ...

Re:incomplete tests (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625497)

I have seen a couple of problems with FAT based flash drives.
What happened in both cases was that the files got "locked", and couldn't be deleted on OSX and Linux, but a fsck fixed the issue.

Re:incomplete tests (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628773)

I've been around a while. Let me tell you, there are many ways to screw up a FAT-formatted volume, most especially the computer powering off in the middle of a write. I've had far fewer problems in that regard with NTFS, probably because NTFS is journaled.

What about UFS? (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624675)

Would one of the UFS variations be suitable for flash drives? And also better portability (almost all OS's support UFS by now). Would performance be better?

Re:What about UFS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26625753)

What are these "almost all" OSs that syupport a specific UFS format?

Read vs Write (2, Interesting)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624739)

It seems like the write time is the most variable out of all these. FAT32/NTFS/ExFAT scores for reading are all within a few % of each other.

I wonder what makes NTFS so slow for writes? The journaling alone reduces it that far?

Re:Read vs Write (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625525)

Writing files in NTFS is apparently somewhat complex. I don't know *that* much about it, except the it uses B+ trees to store some of it's information (which are a little difficult to write), and that it took a *long* time before Linux had NTFS write capability. They were stuck on read-only for a long while.

Re:Read vs Write (3, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625937)

I'd guess it's because NTFS sucks on a removable device. On Windows, by default, hot pluggable devices are mounted with write through caching. NTFS supports this but not very efficiently.

FAT32 and exFAT are simple enough that you can do safe access to a disk even without much write caching. FAT (and probably exFAT) actually defines a way to mark the volume as dirty in the first FAT entry at the start of each transaction where the FAT will be modified.

If someone pulls the drive right in the middle of writing some clusters may be marked as used in the FAT but not actually in use by any files. Next time you insert the drive Vista checks the volume dirt flag and asks you for if you want to run chkdsk. If you run it it will find the 'lost clusters' and convert them to files in the root directory.

Of course this scheme only ensures filesystem metadata consistency, recover user data that was being written when the drive was yanked. Mind you, NTFS journalling has the same limitation. Of course scanning for lost clusters on FAT is a painfuly slow process - you read the FAT into memory and make a bitmap of allocated clusters. Then you read every single directory and tick off the clusters used by each file. Any that are left over are lost. A journaled filesystem is much simpler - you just rollback any incomplete transations in the journal.

Of course if you have to block waiting for write transactions to complete creating the journal entries, updating bitmaps, indexes and inodes and writing data, which you would have to do on a removable device with write through caching, a journaled filesystem like NTFS has a hefty overhead. NTFS structures are much more complex so plausibly extra disk writes are necessary to keep them updated and on small writes those extra writes dominate disk time. Write through caching makes this situation even worse.

Important for me (5, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26624841)

I'm currently on site at a customer's office. I have one of their PCs and one of ours; legal restrictions mean I can't copy our source onto their machines or their source onto ours.

The solution to this is to put a copy of our source onto a USB stick and plug it into their machine, and then use a NTFS junction point (aka a symlink) to let their Windows-based build system see our source. This works very nicely, and I can just unplug the USB stick whenever I leave and the lawyers are happy.

However:

- I have to use NTFS. This is because the two machines are set to use different time zones, and frickin' FAT stores timestamps in the local time, which means that if I were to touch a file on one machine and the move the USB stick, the build system will go horribly wrong.

- I have 'optimise for performance' turned on; the non-Windows world calls this write caching. This boosts performance on NTFS *hugely*. I see no mention of this in the review. I now have to remember to unmount the stick on the Windows machine before pulling it, but it's worth it.

- You have to use the command line format.exe to format a removable drive as NTFS, because frickin' Windows doesn't let you do it from the GUI.

- If you turn NTFS compression on, you get a tiny bit more speed boost. But while Linux will read compressed NTFS files, it won't write them.

- You need to do something obscure with NTFS file permissions if you're going to move the stick between two Windows machines, because otherwise you'll be creating files on one machine you won't be allowed to edit on the other. Linux, of course, just ignores NTFS ACLs.

I have investigated the Windows ext2 driver, but while it does work reasonably well, it's still pretty clunky, and ext2 isn't much better than NTFS. What I'd really like is a decent Windows JFS or XFS driver --- NTFS is *so* last century.

You have to use the command line format.exe (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26625689)

Select the usb drive right click/hardware/policies select optimize for performance and the GUI formatter will now have NTFS as an option.

After formatting you can reset the policy as needed.

I personally turn optimize for performance off on USB drives as many times explorer or some other program will lock the drive preventing a safe removal.

Re:Important for me (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625875)

I have experimented with NTFS on USB sticks too and the last point you gave, brought me back to FAT.

However, I found you can work around it by setting the ACLs to "Everyone","Full Access". After you do that, it doesn't matter anymore. I don't call that "obscure NTFS file permissions": that's bog standard stuff.

That said, the problem you describe (with source codes) should be fixed because this is a terrible way of working around. For this kind of stuff one usually uses version control software. I do realise that they get your source code that way (or you theirs), but your collaborating for crying out loud!

Let the lawyers make a contract allowing each other to see the code under an NDA or something like that. I'm not a lawyer, so ask one. I'd hate to be put in such a situation.

Another alternative is writing an API an delivering a DLL, which is a much better alternative. (Or if it's Java, give them a JAR, obfuscated of course...)

exFAT (-1, Redundant)

dalmiroy2k (768278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625077)

There is another file system you may consider if you use Windows Vista SP1 or Windows 7 exclusively

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExFAT [wikipedia.org]

Re:exFAT (1)

D. Taylor (53947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625395)

Except if you'd even bothered to read the summary, you'd notice he did consider ExFAT. Whoops.

Re:exFAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26625613)

This can also be used on XP - the drivers from Vista install on it just fine.

Slashdotted (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625107)

Since the article is /.ed and I can't RTFA anyway, a question: I'm about to have a user start backing her files up to a 32GB USB stick. Probably no huge movie files. Should I format the stick as NTFS or exFAT (she's running Vista SP1)?

Re:Slashdotted (1)

Falstius (963333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26625583)

According to the benchmarks, exFAT. If you trust it not to die a horrible death and to be readable anywhere else.

NTFS Permissions/Speed (1)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626047)

I've always been under the impression that NTFS is inherently slower (though I do not know exactly "how much") because of the processing of ACLs/Audit events that do not take place under FAT32, and that other than for these "features" NTFS and FAT32 are very similar.

Filesystem for Slashdotters (2, Interesting)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626333)

I don't care for compatibility with Windows. I use exclusively free *nixes and so does all my friends (otherwise they wouldn't be real friends, would they?). So having this richer buffet of file systems than just the two in the article, what should I choose? I have heard someone say that ext2 means less wear on the drive than ext3 (something with journaling?).

Choose NTFS for the life of your drive (1)

Xygon (578778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626415)

There's one other reason to choose NTFS: the file system is spread across the drive, versus having a localized FAT table. Unless the wear-leveling on the drive is good (and most controllers for USB sticks are more than sufficient for what they're designed for, but I wouldn't call "good," they're designed for price), you end up with very uneven wear on a finite-life product. Add in that the USB market takes the lowest grade of memory available, and I'd trust NTFS over FAT, generally.

That said, I still use FAT, because as long as my thumb drive works long enough to move my presentation from my laptop to my customer's, it's done its job. I don't expect it to have a long life, and I have an unlimited stream of new drives to play with.

Re:Choose NTFS for the life of your drive (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26626669)

Why worry about wear leveling? When's the last time you ran out of ink in a ballpoint pen before you lost it?

Re:Choose NTFS for the life of your drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26628285)

Actually, others say just the opposite: that because of the journalling, NTFS will wear out the USB drive faster.

What year is this from? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26626461)

Yay, we have an answer to which of these two obsolete legacy fs works best with this modern hardware. But you left out Amiga FFS and MacOS HFS.

Funny there's no mention of ext4 and reiser3 and xfs.

Re:What year is this from? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626801)

Given a big enough partition table, I could put 125 ProDOS partitions on that (4 GB / 32 MiB).

Re:What year is this from? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626963)

Given this comment, I certainly hope your username is meant to be ironic.

Re:What year is this from? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627437)

What, you think an Apple II can't use USB? [engadget.com]

Re:What year is this from? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628357)

The real question: Why would you want to do that?

Re:What year is this from? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26628799)

BECAUSE IT'S THERE!

Obviously.

FAT32 and MS Backup (2, Informative)

Dreben (220413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626507)

Since many folks use their usb devices as backup media, it should be noted since fat32 has a file size limitation of about 4gb, fat32 is not an option if you wish to use MS Backup utility to create backup images larger than that.

The first two things I look for in a jump drive (2, Interesting)

Doghouse Riley (1072336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26626601)

(1) Does it have a cap I am likely to lose?

(2) Can I attach it to my keyring? (no silly lanyard clips please)

Both far more important to me in daily use than a 20% speed difference between one drive and another.
It's not like I'm running terabyte database sorts on these little guys.......

Very strange use of colours in the graphs (1)

drspliff (652992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627281)

I'm sure i cant be the only person who noticed this, but in many of the graphs TWO of the bars were coloured white with the other being red/green or whatever, not just that but they colouring seemed to be switched at random.

That's a huge usability failure!

Ext4 and Btrfs anyone? (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627543)

This may sound off-topic, but has anyone tested ext4's performance on USB drives? I hope ext4's delayed allocation (well, something not specific to ext4) could provide some meaningful enhancement for USB usage. I'm considering the idea of ext4 on a flash drive with no journaling and noatime for LiveUSB. That being said, I'll have to make sure it works with GRUB..

Also the new BtrFS is said to be optimized for SSDs. I wonder whether this will benefit USB flash drives too when it comes out.

VFAT? (1)

LittleBigScript (618162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26627935)

Why not VFAT? Or are these only windows formated filesystem types?

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