How NTFS Work?

Occasionally known as the New Technology File System, this type of file system is particularly associated with the Windows NT Operating system where it plays repository and retrieval of files located within the hard disk. It is equivalent to Windows 95 File Allocation Table (FAT) and the High Performance File System (HPFS) synonymous with the OS/2. This file is significantly different from the FAT and HPFS in that it comes with a myriad of improvements that makes it perform better in terms of offering security to files.

Working of NTFS

Once a hard disk is initialized it is split into sub-sections known as partitions –portions of the total hard drive space. It is the role of the operating system to monitor or rather keep record of the files that are located in each and every partition of the hard drive. Storage within the drive is usually in terms of constellations of well known uniform sizes. In this file system the size trades between 512 bytes to 64 kb. For instance, a 4 GB hard drive has a fixed cluster size worth 4 KB. Role of the disk size to performance is always directly proportional to the cluster size. Hence for effective and efficient performance the bigger the hard disk the better. Immediately a file is created by the NTFS its blueprint is left in a special reserve known as the Master File Table (MFT). The record allows one to easily find files that are scattered within clusters creating a contiguous storage that will keep the files and its clusters intact in accordance to their metadata. Assembling information into files which then generate folders and directories is a familiar naming method that is gaining popularity among many PC users but how often do we stop and ask how is this even possible? The mastery of NTFS can simply be broken down under the following lines:


After undergoing series of extensive evolution, NTFS has the following to trade off:

  • Ability to support and store massive file sizes – NTFS can store up to 16 billion byte of a file size.
  • Unlike in the FAT, clustering is used in storing information about files and
  • Uses a simple b-tree directory to monitor files in clusters.
  • Access to files is prior to administrator’s permission i.e. administrator’s password is prerequisite before access to protected files.
  • Facilitates compression of files thus saving on space.
  • NTFS has no problem with long file names – it is the file system that holds the longest file names.
  • Offers security to both hard drives and removable devices.
  • Supports Unicode names.

Author: Keith Harrison