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NTFS Performance and Overhead Considerations
One of my favorite expressions is from a Heinlein novel: TANSTAAFL, which stands for "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch". What it means is simply that you usually don't get something for nothing. Life is full of tradeoffs, and certain costs that go with certain benefits. This is true of most things in life; it is true in the computer world in general, and it is also true of NTFS.
When it comes to NTFS, the tradeoff is generally between functionality and performance. NTFS has a lot of interesting and useful features and capabilities. However, most of these abilities come at the cost of overhead. The more options you add to a file system, the more disk space and processing is required to implement and manage them. This is simple common sense, but it is important to point out to those considering the use of NTFS. You can't expect to have a file system that allows flexible access control, compression, auditing, advanced reliability and other useful qualities without requiring the system to make some investments in allowing these features to work.
The performance implications of NTFS features mean that using NTFS may result in a slight decrease in performance compared to the use of a simpler file system such as FAT. Here are a few tips and issues to keep in mind when considering how to implement NTFS partitions, which may partially mitigate this performance impact:
It is wise to keep these performance issues in mind, both when using NTFS, and even in considering if you even want to use it. At the same time, you should not let these concerns "scare you off" from using NTFS. If you manage your system well and use reasonably modern hardware, the difference in performance between using NTFS and FAT partitions should not be a significant one. For a business, NTFS is pretty much indispensable, and if a bit more hardware needs to be thrown at the system to compensate for a small amount of overhead, it's usually an easy decision.
Note: For a more
thorough, general discussion of hard disk performance, see