Should i choose NTFS or FAT (PLS help!)

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Vangen, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. Vangen macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2007
    Hey all, i've just got a new imac and i intend to install windows xp on it. The only thing hindering my progress now is whether i should format the windows partition in NTFS or FAT.

    The MAIN reason why i am installing windows xp sp2 is to run games on them, so clearly the 32GB that i'm limited to if i choose FAT is too little (all gamers should agree :p).
    Also, from what i have read so far from all the discussions, having the partition in FAT format only allows files of up to 4GB in size (which would seriously suck :(), and i'd like to receive confirmation if this is true (because the bootcamp pdf does not state anything regarding file sizes on windows).

    So currently i'm leaning towards formatting it in NTFS, but before i do that i'd like to know if there are any DOWNSIDES to choosing NTFS over FAT?

    P.S. : is it true that if i choose NTFS i can read but not write files in my windows partition from OS X?

    Thanks for reading and please help!
  2. Serge N Gin macrumors member

    Serge N Gin

    Sep 29, 2007
    AFAIK, you have to choose FAT32 over NTFS due to the latter not being able to inter-operate with Mac OS X.

    I found this good turorial which I hope is relevant to Leopard, if that's the version of Mac OS you are using.

    How Do I Install Wind'ohs XP On My Mac Using Boot Camp?
  3. Vangen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2007
    Thanks Serge help appreciated, and i understand that's one problem i'm going to face if i choose NTFS over FAT32.

    However, since my purpose of installing windows on mac is mainly for gaming, i want to know how much of a problem that (meaning choosing NTFS over FAT32) is going to be.

    Another query i have: If i choose NTFS, can i still transfer files from Windows to OS X (or vice versa) through a FAT32 formatted external HD? If i can, that solves many problems
  4. stomer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    I thought the 32GB limit was an artificial limit that MS introduced in XP for god knows what reason. So, you should be able to create a partition larger than 32GB and formatted in FAT32, as long as you don't use Windows to do it.
    This is true. It's the main reason that I stay clear of FAT32. HD video files can easily be larger than 4GB.

    The biggest downside is compatibility. You can read from NTFS but you'll have trouble writing to NTFS from Mac OS X. AFAIK, there is an NTFS module for Mac Fuse that would allow you to write to NTFS. I don't know how reliable this is, nor, if it is in fact usable.
  5. dtdrpepper macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2007
    My choice--format NTFS and get MacDrive. Your capabilities from Windows will be read/write on HFS+ drives and partitions and, as you stated, the default capability from OS X is to read NTFS drives and partitions. This creates a workable scenario where you can access and transfer files to from either side, albeit needing to do any HFS+ to NTFS transfers from within Windows. From my experience MacDrive is a very solid and worthwhile product.

    An option for adding transparent NTFS write capabilities to OS X is Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X . There is a beta thread in this forum. The second release version seems to be pretty good so far, but it's a young product. Don't let the beta thread scare you--remember that its purpose is problem reporting.

    I don't have personal experience with the Fuse option that's pretty regularly referred to here, but my understanding is that it is not a simple install and go method of getting NTFS write capabilties--Paragon is.
  6. joemama2413 macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2007
    im also a gamer and what i did was format 100 gb to NTFS and created a VM with fusion and now i drag and drop files such as patches from my mac window into the fusion window. easy.
  7. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    Never use FAT for anything other than a thumb drive, its a terrible format thanks to the 32 and 4gb limits. So many things these days are over 4gbs, especially games.

    Always stick with NTFS. And any extra partition or HDD that needs to be read/write with OS X and Windows make it HFS+ and use Mac Drive in Windows (works perfect, no downsides).

    I would suggest not making your windows drive editable in OS X, OS X can place a LOT of weird "._" files on windows formats. It gets very annoying dealing with all the litter OSX leaves behind when in Windows. I cant imagine why you would want to edit your windows partition anyways.

    I suggest making your Windows NTFS partition 15gbs for XP or 20gbs for Vista, then install ALL games and keep misc data (like music or P2P files) on another partition that is HFS+ and use Mac Drive. Install all normal programs on the Windows partition since those are relatively small in size unlike games. Ive used this method for years since it makes reinstalling Windows completely painless since theres no need to backup anything, games can be huge and are uninstalled frequently which is why I keep them on my data partition so i can keep the Windows partition small.
  8. webgoat macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2007
    Austin, TX
    this is what i do as well
  9. Vangen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2007
    Thanks a ton guys! Your help is greatly appreciated ;)

    Choosing NTFS and keeping my fingers crossed everything goes alright.

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