In setting it to use with my Netbook, I looked at the properties of the drive. I was surprised to see that it was formatted in FAT32. FAT32 was not something I expected to see, I was expecting to see NTFS.
So, for those reading this who do not know what the difference between FAT32 (File Allocation Table 32 – see Wikipedia -> File Allocation Table – 12/16/32 ) and NTFS (New Technology File System – see Wikipedia -> NTFS).
FAT32 and NTFS Differences
From the above list, there are benefits which NTFS offers.
The down side of NTFS are space, speed and portability:
- Space. It costs more in raw disk space to install NTFS on a disk compared to FAT32.
- Speed. You do get a speed hit because you have a more secure between the disk and the OS (Operating System). There is a performance hit (but not an excessive one, you already wear it on most machines which are running anything later than Windows XP accessing you C: drive – I think).
- Portability. The disk will be only readable on a Windows machine (a very big generalisation – software may be available which circumvents the problems). So, if you want to read the disk on other than a Windows machine (NT, XP, Vista, Windows 7), you may need to stick with FAT32.
I decided that the first thing I was going to do to this drive was copy off the preinstalled software, and then reformat the drive to NTFS. I wanted the compressing option, and robustness (fault tolerance – another plus of NTFS) of NTFS.
SyncToy is a Microsoft free tool, which allows the replication of a folder structure from one location to another. This is really handy for my netbook. I have “stuff” which I want to keep an up-to-date copy of on the external drive, from my NAS storage. SyncToy is a really simple tool which achieves this for me with a minimum of fuss.
The benefits of having NAS storage in a home network is that it no matter how many machines you have you have a large chunk of shared disk. My current NAS device is a LaCie d2 Network 2 and has been working perfectly since I plugged it into the network. The fact that it is an supports Gigabit Ethernet is another big point that this device has.