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Know the Difference Between HFS and NTFS File Systems

Updated on March 9, 2018
Deepika Lakhina profile image

I'm passionate about technology as it help us build better tools. I Write Because I Love, and express my thoughts.

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With the increasing enhancements in the world, computers and laptops have become essential and everyone is keen to have these gadgets around them. For running a computer, a file system is very important as it helps in managing the files and data on different partitions in an effective manner. However, you will find various types of file systems that are made available based on the OS platform that is being used on computers.

So, if you are a Windows user, then FAT and NTFS is the file system which is being used, whereas if you are a Mac OS X user, then HFSX and HFS+ file systems that are most commonly used.

As most of the users work on their systems having the latest file systems installed, so let us know what is NTFS and HFS File System, and what's the difference between them.

NTFS is a recoverable file system used on Windows, it keeps the track of every transaction against the file system. It is best for usage on volumes that are 400MB or more. HFS is proprietary file system developed by Apple original for use on the floppy and hard disks, also on read-only media like CD-ROMS.

Differences between NTFS and HFS:

  • NTFS is New Technology File System is a secure file system for Windows-based OS whereas HFS is the basic file system for Apple Mac OS X.
  • NTFS uses B+-trees for directory content whereas HFS uses B-trees.
  • NTFS employs advanced data structures to improve performance, disk space utilization, and reliability when compared to HFS.
  • NTFS has maximum file length of 255 characters whereas HFS file system of Mac has file length of 31 bytes.
  • The NTFS file system has read timestamps, but when we take Mac OS X HFS file system, it does not have last access.
  • Internal snapshotting is partial in Microsoft NTFS file system whereas in HFS / HFS+ there is no internal snapshotting feature enabled.
  • NTFS provides transparent compression, but HFS Plus does not offer transparent compression.

NTFS file system supported on OS platforms like Windows NT, Linux with NTFS-3g, Mac OS with Paragon NTFS and NTFS-3g, Mac OS X with NTFS-3g, etc. Apple HFS supports Linux, Mac OS, and Mac OS X.

It means both the file systems are compatible with their own OS platforms. For Windows operating system computers and laptops, you can always prefer using the NTFS file system, whereas, for Mac operating system computers, you can prefer using HFS file system or HFS Plus Extended File System.


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      Varun 6 weeks ago

      Great read. Simple yet informative article