ilko_t

FAT16 vs FAT32 vs NTFS speed on USB stick

33 posts in this topic

I have done a few tests to measure copy speed during Text portion of setup. Here are the results:

NLited XP source, 5251 files occupying 399.7 MB. After the copy part on destination drive are found 2850 files, occupying 476MB.

Preparation made by WinSetupFromUSB 0.1.1, run on XP SP2 system, C2D 4300@2.9GHz.

USB stick- Lexar JD Lightening 1100 1GB, which is relatively fast:

magicalsnap200810241154wz3.th.jpg

In all cases stick was quick formatted using HP USB format tool 2.0.6.

To check if USB write protection via migrate.inf plays role I tested without it as well.

All tests performed intentionally on an old Celeron 1.7MHz/384MB RAM/VIA 266KM chipset, which supports USB 2.0 once the USB drivers are loaded.

FAT16:

Stick prepared for ~15 min. (899 secs.)

Text mode copy part with USB write-protection- 4:10

Text mode copy part without USB write-protection- 6:13

FAT32:

Stick prepared for ~21 min. (1253 secs.)

Text mode copy part with USB write-protection- 12:58

Text mode copy part without USB write-protection- 7:15

NTFS:

Stick prepared for ~4 min. (238 secs.)

Text mode copy part with USB write-protection- 1:42

Text mode copy part without USB write-protection- 1:45

It really puzzles me why FAT32 is so slow compared to FAT16 :blink:

If your system supports USB boot from NTFS formatted partitions AND you are not planning excessive usage of the USB stick in terms of write operations, where NTFS may wear it out (disputable with modern USB sticks), NTFS seems to be the way to go.

Edited by ilko_t
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If you have an occasion to do so :unsure:, I would like those tests repeated on a comparable machine running Windows 2K.

You may find some interesting differences. ;)

jaclaz

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Here there are- 2000 SP4, 5738 files / 611MB. After the copy part on destination drive are 2697 files, occupying 290MB.

FAT16:

Stick prepared for ~16 min. (987 secs.)

Text mode copy part without USB write-protection- 3:47

FAT32:

Stick prepared for ~21 min. (1282 secs.)

Text mode copy part without USB write-protection- 3:36 :blink:

NTFS:

Stick prepared for ~5 min. (297 secs.)

Text mode copy part without USB write-protection- 4:18 :wacko:

What the heck were MS screwing with those drivers?

Will test 2003 SP1 too, will it be the same as XP SP2...?

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thanks for your short review... just jesterday i'm worried about the long setup time for my xp (because i formated the stick to fat32 because i want to test gparted (which won't work under ntfs)

now i new, that it's much better to use fat16.

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Here is 2003 SP2, after the copy part on destination drive are 3444 files, occupying 554MB.

FAT16:

Text mode copy part without USB write-protection- 8:04

FAT32:

Text mode copy part without USB write-protection- 9:18

NTFS:

Text mode copy part without USB write-protection- 2:46

FSK-JoKeR- as far as I remember the old GParted 0.3.4-8 does work from NTFS, but is a bit outdated. PartedMagic 3.0 also worked from NTFS.

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Since most USB sticks of nowadays common size come from manufacturer (NOT bootable) formatted as FAT32, you can now understand how I left a number of people bewildered by the speed of sticks on my good ol' Asus sub-notebook running 2K SP0. ;) (600 Mhz - 10 Gb HD - built in year 2000)

Typically I would go to a customer's office, make him copy the files I need (from a very fast - top end - desktop) on one of his sticks, (several tens of seconds), then in a flash read them on my small faithful thingy (also helped by the fact that reading is usually much faster than writing). B)

Just imagine the overall amount of time wasted by people waiting for their files to be copied to sticks thanks to the "stupid" upgrade to the drivers the good MS guys made. :whistle:

Unrelated, but maybe worth a read:

http://www.msfn.org/board/Generic-98-USB-d...-me-t99220.html

jaclaz

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exFAT Versus FAT32 Versus NTFS

With Vista SP1 Microsoft has introduced a new file system. Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) is the successor to the old FAT32 file system. What are the advanatages and disadvantages to this new file system? What are the differences between exFAT and FAT32? When is exFAT preferred over NTFS?

Microsoft has released the exFAT file system with Vista SP1. This file system that previously had been rumored to be released with the original Vista is finally available to the public on a wide scale. This article will explain what issues with FAT32 that exFAT fixes. Surprisingly to many people, exFAT even may be better than the much loved NTFS in some circumstances.

FAT32 is the file system with which most windows users are most familiar. Windows first supported FAT32 with Windows 95 OSR2 and has increased support for it through XP.

FAT32 has multiple issues that modern systems can experience: - By default windows systems can only format a drive up to 32 GB. Additional software works around this issue. When formatted at these bigger sizes, FAT32 becomes increasingly inefficient.

- The maximum file size on a FAT32 formatted drive is around 4 GB. With DVD and high resolution DVD formats now available, this limit is commonly noticed.

- Dealing with fragmentation and free disk space calculations can become painfully resource intensive in large FAT32 systems.

- A FAT32 directory can have 65,536 directory entries. Each file or subdirectory can take up multiple entries; therefore, FAT32 directories are limited with how many files it can hold.

exFAT was first released with CE 6.0 but will finally hit the mainstream with Vista SP1. exFAT has several advantages over FAT32: -File size limit is now 16 exabytes.

- Format size limits and files per directory limits are practically eliminated.

- Like HPFS, exFAT uses free space bitmaps to reduce fragmentation and free space allocation/detection issues.

- Like HTFS, permission systems should be able to be attached through an access control list (ACL). It is unclear if or when Vista will include this feature, however.

In the past most power-users of Microsoft systems have opted to format/convert to a NTFS file system instead.

Interestingly enough, exFAT is not used currently for formatting hard drives. It is being recommended in Flash memory storage and other external devices only. This is why it is currently not considered a huge competitor to NTFS on hard drives.

However, exFAT should be a true competitor to NTFS on systems with limited processing power and memory. NTFS on flash memory has been known to be inefficient for quite some time. exFAT's smaller footprint/overhead makes it ideal for this purpose. Of course, only if your definition of "ideal" allows software to be proprietary and not open source.

Vista will happily read FAT, exFAT, and NTFS from flash. ReadyBoost may not work with exFAT formatted flash drives, however.

In conclusion, basically, FAT is a simple system. This limits FAT system by losing efficiency at large sizes, but allows it to run with less resources. The complexity of NTFS increases features but requires more memory and processing power.

Extended file allocation table (exFAT) is a new file system that is better adapted to the growing needs of mobile personal storage. The exFAT file system not only handles large files, such as those used for media storage, it enables seamless interoperability between desktop PCs and devices such as portable media devices so that files can easily be copied between desktop and device. In addition, exFAT can be adopted with minimal effort. The exFAT file system encapsulates standard FAT and TFAT functionality.

The exFAT system offers the following advantages: Enables the file system to handle growing capacities in media, increasing capacity to 32 GB and larger. Handles more than 1000 files in a single directory. Speeds up storage allocation processes. Removes the previous file size limit of 4 GB. Supports interoperability with future desktop OSs. Provides an extensible format, including OEM-definable parameters to customize the file system for specific device characteristics.

In addition, you can choose to add support for TFAT to your exFAT implementation to ensure transaction-safe operations. As of Windows Embedded CE 6.0 and later, TFAT can only be supported in an exFAT environment.

copy paste by mmg1818

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mmg1818, this is good to know, but how it relates to the specific subject in the posts above yours?

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...and besides ilko_t's question....

copy paste by mmg1818

From where? :unsure:

jaclaz

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With Vista SP1 Microsoft has introduced a new file system. Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) is the successor to the old FAT32 file system. What are the advanatages and disadvantages to this new file system? What are the differences between exFAT and FAT32? When is exFAT preferred over NTFS?

Microsoft has released the exFAT file system with Vista SP1. This file system that previously had been rumored to be released with the original Vista is finally available to the public on a wide scale. This article will explain what issues with FAT32 that exFAT fixes. Surprisingly to many people, exFAT even may be better than the much loved NTFS in some circumstances.

exFAT was first released with CE 6.0 but will finally hit the mainstream with Vista SP1. exFAT has several advantages over FAT32: -File size limit is now 16 exabytes.

...

There is a way to unofficially access exFAT partitions under Windows XP. Read here:

http://www.merawindows.com/Forums/tabid/32...ts/Default.aspx

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My Asus P5Q Pro refused to boot Vista setup from exFAT formatted stick. So it's not the way at the moment.

As to speed: all usb sticks copy big files fast, but small one very slow.

The good way i think is to reach the goal in another way:

1. Create iso image on usb-stick, copy it after boot from usb to hdd, mount to virtual cd-rom with letter Z: and run setup from it (of cource boot.ini shoul be edited to run virtual cd after reboot - this is '-')

2. Create archive on usb-stick, which will be copied on any partition and unpacked there, after runing setup there should be no problems.

So what do you think? My opinion that second way will be easier to get working and faster.

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The good way i think is to reach the goal in another way:

1. Create iso image on usb-stick, copy it after boot from usb to hdd, mount to virtual cd-rom with letter Z: and run setup from it (of cource boot.ini shoul be edited to run virtual cd after reboot - this is '-')

2. Create archive on usb-stick, which will be copied on any partition and unpacked there, after runing setup there should be no problems.

So what do you think? My opinion that second way will be easier to get working and faster.

It greatly depends on hardware.

#1 above is not possible AFAIK unless you use a RAMDISK setup (and have enough RAM)

#2 is perfectly possible using a variation of either:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=121446

or the good ol' DOS way:

http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=16713

jaclaz

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i got a 4GB usb drive.

Would it be faster to format it as FAT16 or not?

And if it is not possible, how would I use the FAT32 driver from Win2k which is much faster?

Edited by BigDaddy
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i got a 4GB usb drive.

Would it be faster to format it as FAT16 or not?

A FAT16 formatted 4GB filesystem will use "non-standard" 64Kbyte clusters, it may be speedier, but highly inefficient:

http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showtopic=110779

and non compatible with "standard" DOS

And if it is not possible, how would I use the FAT32 driver from Win2k which is much faster?

GOOD question. :)

No pre-made answer, though. :(

Probably, but cannot say, disabling SFC/WFP and replacing the "new" driver with the "old" one may work, but not only cannot say, I don't even know in WHICH driver lies the difference, possible candidates :unsure::

  • fastfat.sys
  • disk.sys
  • usbstor.sys
  • usbhub.sys
  • usbehci.sys (usbohci.sys) (usbuhci.sys)

and it could also be a "combined effect"....

jaclaz

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