File System Functionality Comparison

The following tables list functionality and feature support comparisons for the four main Windows file systems, NTFS, exFAT, UDF, and FAT32:

Functionality

Feature NTFS exFAT UDF FAT32
Creation time stamps
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Last access time stamps
No (see note below)
Yes
Yes
Yes (date only)
Last change time stamps
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Last archive time stamps
No
No
No
No
Case-sensitive
Yes (option)
No
Yes
No
Case-preserving
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Hard links
Yes
No
Yes
No
Soft links
Yes
No
No
No
Sparse files
Yes
No
Yes
No
Named streams
Yes
No
Yes
No
Oplocks
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Extended attributes
Yes
No
Yes (on-disk only)
No
Alternate data streams
Yes
No
Yes
No
Mount points
Yes
No
No
No

Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP: The NTFS last access time stamp field is updated.

Limits

Feature NTFS exFAT UDF FAT32
Maximum file name length
255 Unicode characters
255 Unicode characters
127 Unicode or 254 ASCII characters
255 Unicode characters
Maximum path name length
32,760 Unicode characters with each path component no more than 255 characters
32,760 Unicode characters with each path component no more than 255 characters
32,760 Unicode characters with each path component no more than 255 characters
32,760 Unicode characters with each path component no more than 255 characters
Maximum file size
2^64 1 bytes
2^64 1 bytes
2^64 1 bytes
4 GiB
Maximum volume size
16 TB (4 KB Cluster Size) or 256TB (64 KB Cluster Size)
2^32 1 clusters (Maximum cluster size = 2^25 1)
2^32 blocks
2^32 blocks

Journaling and Change Log

Feature NTFS exFAT UDF FAT32
Metadata-only journaling
Yes
No
No
No
File change log
Yes
No
No
No

Block Allocation Features

Feature NTFS exFAT UDF FAT32
Tail packing
Yes (small files are made resident in the MFT stream descriptor)
No
No
No
Extents
Yes
No
Yes
No
Variable block size
No (set by the volume)
No
No
No

Security

Feature NTFS exFAT UDF FAT32
Track file owner
Yes
No
No
No
POSIX file permissions
No (available in POSIX subsystem feature)
No
Yes
No
Access control lists
Yes
No
No
No
File system level encryption
Yes
No
No
No
Checksum/ECC
No
Metadata
Metadata
No

Compression

Feature NTFS exFAT UDF FAT32
Built-in compression
Yes
No
No
No

Quotas

Feature NTFS exFAT UDF FAT32
User-level disk space
Yes
No
No
No
Directory-level disk space
No (see note below)
No
No
No

Note The directory-level disk space quotas feature on NTFS is available through the File Server Resource Manager.

Single-Instance Store

Feature NTFS exFAT UDF FAT32
File level
No (see note below)
No
No
No

Note Single-instance store for NTFS is available as part of the Single Instance Storage feature in Windows Server.

About File Management

Single-Instance Store and SIS Backup