If you have ever tried to format a USB stick or memory stick, you might have noticed that the only file system options you have are FAT and FAT32. This is the default behavior on Windows. However, with a little tweaking of the settings, you can format removable storage devices in NTFS format, including external hard drives, etc.
Of course, for some reason, Windows uses FAT and FAT32 for removable media by default. There are actually several advantages and disadvantages of formatting a USB drive as NTFS, so we’ll cover them before we talk about how to do it.
The benefits of enabling NTFS on removable storage devices are pretty tempting. For example, the NTFS file system allows you to add Allow and Deny permissions to specific files and folders for specific Windows users, which cannot be done with the FAT file system. On the security front, you can also encrypt files using Windows built-in encryption.
Another major benefit of moving to NTFS is that you are no longer limited to storing files less than 4GB on your device. FAT32 can only handle files up to 4G and sizes up to 2TB. So if you want to format your 5TB external hard drive as a single volume using FAT32, you cannot do that.
Files stored on FAT32 file systems also have a much higher chance of being corrupted than on NTFS. NTFS is a journaling file system, which means that before an actual change is made to the data, it is first “journaled” so that if something happens while the data is being written, the system can quickly recover unnecessarily. to repair.
Other benefits include the ability to compress files and therefore save space on the USB drive. You can also set disk quotas and even create partitions! Thus, formatting USB drives to NTFS has several advantages that can be useful if you need to use some of these advanced features, such as additional security or large file storage.
However, there are several disadvantages to using NFTS on a USB stick. First, NTFS requires a lot more disk writes, so access to the device will be slower. It will also shorten the lifespan of your USB flash drives due to additional write operations. In addition, Windows versions older than 2000 (with the exception of some Windows NT versions) cannot read NTFS file systems, like most Linux systems until recently, so your compatibility deteriorates significantly. All other devices like cameras, smartphones, TVs, tablets, etc. will most likely only read FAT32.
Another major drawback is that if you encrypt your files on a USB drive or use any file permissions, you won’t be able to open them anywhere else. In fact, this can be considered a disadvantage or a positive point depending on what you want to do. If you want to protect your USB drive so that only your account on one computer can open files, then using encryption or permissions is fine. Otherwise, do not add permissions or encrypt files.
How to format a USB drive with NTFS
If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8, the process is really simple. Connect your USB device first, and then open Computer on your desktop.
Just right-click your USB device and select Format.
Now open the File System dropdown and select NTFS. You don’t need to do anything else, the NTFS parameter should appear in the list.
In Windows Vista and XP, you may not see the NTFS option in the File System section, in which case you need to configure the option first. First, connect your USB device to your computer, then right-click My Computer on the desktop and select Manage.
Then click in Device Manager and then expand Disk Drives. You should see your USB drive listed there as “Generic USB 2.0 USB Drive” or something similar.
Now right click on the USB drive under Disk Drives, select Properties and go to the Policies tab “.
You will now see two options: Optimize for fast deletion, selected by default. Go ahead and change this by selecting the “Optimize for Performance” option. This allows Windows caching to be written and hence allows it to be formatted as NTFS! Sweet.
That’s all. Before you start formatting, you will need to remove the USB drive and then plug it back in. Now click “OK”, go to “My Computer”, right-click on the USB drive and select “Format”. You should see an NTFS option in the File System dropdown!
Troubleshoot NTFS formatting errors
If you run into a problem formatting to NTFS, it will likely be an error message stating that Windows was unable to complete the formatting. The main reason this can happen is when it tries to delete the main partition and fails for some reason.
In this case, you can simply format the drive in Disk Management instead of using Explorer. Go ahead and right-click “My Computer” or “Computer”, select “Manage” and then click “Disk Management”.
Now find the drive in the list below labeled Removable and make sure it is the correct size. Right-click the white area and choose Format. You will receive a message that the disk has an active partition and all data will be lost; go ahead and click Yes to continue. Now select NTFS and format.
Now you can use advanced NTFS features on your USB device to make it more secure, store larger files, etc. If you have any questions, please leave comment. Enjoy!