Windows NT Server 4.0 supports FAT(FAT 16) and NTFS file systems. It does not support FAT 32 file system. FAT 32 was designed for win 95/98. If you want to install both Win98 and Windows NT Server 4.0 in a computer then use FAT 16 partitions. FAT 16 supports both Win98/Windows NT Server 4.0. For format the hard disk to FAT 16 partitions you need DOS BOOT DISKETTE and disk manager 9.46 softwares.
Windows 2000 Server supports FAT(FAT 16),FAT 32 and NTFS file systems. If you want to install Active directory then you must have NTFS partitions on your server's hard drives.
Windows Server 2003 supports FAT(FAT 16),FAT 32 and NTFS file systems. If you want to install Active directory then you must have NTFS partitions on your server's hard drives.
FAT: FAT system establishes a file allocation table that provides the name of the file and the location of clusters that make up the file on the hard disk. Even if the file is scattered around the disk,the table makes it possible for the FAT to monitor and find all parts of the file.
FAT is the least complicated type of Windows supported file system. FAT has minimal overhead(less than 1 MB). So it is most applicable to drives or partitions under 400 MB. FAT resides at the top of the fixed allocated space on the hard disk. Two copies of Fat are maintained for security purpose. FAT is updated regularly. FAT supports only network shares.
FAT supports read-only,hidden,system and archive file attributes only. FAT uses 8.3 filenaming convention. A filename may be up to eight characters long,then followed by a period (.),then with an extension of up to three characters. All filenames must be created with ASCII character set. They must start with a letter or a number. Names are not case-sensitive.
FAT performance decreases as the size of the volume increases. So FAT file system is not recommended with drives or partitions larger than 400 MB. It is not possible to set security permissions on files in FAT partitions. FAT does not support local security. Under Windows FAT partitions are limited to a maximum size of 4 GB.
FAT 32: It is an extension of the FAT file system. It uses disk space on a disk more efficiently than FAT.
NTFS: NT file system provides the stability and security. NTFS 5 is the newest version of the NT file system. It provides increased security for files and supports more robust file system recovery. NTFS enables setting file and directory control permissions. NTFS supports both local and remote user permissions on both local and shared files or folders.
NTFS uses 255.3 filenaming convention. NTFS file or directory names may be up to 255 characters long,then followed by a period (.),then with an extension of up to three characters. These names are not case-sensitive. They must start with a letter or a number.
NTFS performance does not degrade as the size of the volume increases. NTFS is best used on volumes of 400 MB or more. NTFS has 1-5 MB overhead. So NTFS should not be used on volumes smaller than 400 MB. Since NTFS overhead does not fit on a floppy,we can not format a floppy with NTFS. NTFS supports partition size of 2 terabytes.
Note: Articles on Windows NT,Windows 2000 Server,Windows 2003 Server will come soon on my blog under the same NETWORKING section.