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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Logical Structures and File Systems | New Technology File System (NTFS) | NTFS Versions ]

NTFS 5.0

When Microsoft finally shipped its long-awaited new Windows NT operating system, they surprised a few people by naming it not Windows NT 5.0, as had been expected, but Windows 2000. However, the version of NTFS that shipped with Windows 2000 provided a hint at the original name of the operating system: NTFS 5.0. The fact that Microsoft created a new version of the file system to go along with its new operating system demonstrates just how important the NTFS file system is to Windows NT and Windows 2000. Several of the new features in Windows 2000 actually depend on features built into NTFS 5.0, such as the Active Directory service.

The following are the most important of the new features and capabilities that were added to NTFS with version 5.0. Each has been linked to the page where you can read about it in more detail:

  • Reparse Points: Files and directories within the file system can have actions associated with them, so that when the file system object is accessed in a particular way, the action is carried out.
  • Improved Security and Permissions: The mechanisms for managing file system security and assigning permissions were improved.
  • Change Journals: Disk volumes can be set to keep track of all operations performed on the files and directories they contain.
  • Encryption: NTFS 5.0 allows you to encrypt files and automatically decrypt them as they are read.
  • Disk Quotas: Administrators can track how much disk space is being used by users or groups of users, and even limit disk space use if necessary.
  • Sparse File Support: To save space on the disk, support was added for the more efficient storage of sparse files, which are large files that are mostly empty.
  • Disk Defragmenter: Windows 2000 includes a disk defragmentation program, where Windows NT did not. (Arguably, this is an operating system feature of Windows 2000, and not a file system enhancement, but I thought I'd mention it anyway, since it is obviously file system related.)

Of course, this list isn't comprehensive; there were also some other, minor improvements made in a variety of areas within the file system. This includes fixing some bugs that existed in the older version of the file system, though the new features undoubtedly mean that new ones were included as well. :^) Even the items above represent a rather substantial set of enhancements to what was already a very powerful file system. Of course, NTFS 5.0 also supports all of the features included in older versions of the file system.

As I mentioned above, NTFS 5.0 is required by Windows 2000. In fact, if you install Windows 2000 on top of Windows NT, Windows 2000 will convert any older NTFS partitions to NTFS 5.0. For more on compatibility issues between NTFS 5.0 and older versions of the file system, see the next page.

Next: NTFS Version Compatibility

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