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For a presentation, I need to show ext4 File System is better than NTFS. I searched and got nice article on both ext4 and NTFS

But I need a comparison guideline with better example.

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  • 13
    Try not to use wikipedia as your main references. Use it as a starting point.
    – slybloty
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 20:52
  • I found 2 things in my experience of trying to mount a 3TB disk on Ubuntu 14.04: 1) ntfs on large disks causes startup to hang, while ext4 doesn't 2) ntfs will not allow drives to use more than 2GB (with Master Boot Record mode anyway) Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 5:02
  • I disagree with closing this question as primarily opinion-based. The kinds of issues one finds with NTFS on Linux are objectively worse. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 5:04
  • @user7000 2TB is an MBR limitation, don't blame NTFS for that. Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 8:17
  • yeah NTFS is better all right, can't think of any filesystems that are better at breaking except maybe FAT Commented Aug 12, 2022 at 12:23

2 Answers 2

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ext4 is better, because it is not built by MS, of course. ;-)

  • How are searches being handled?
  • How is the allowance of access to a file being handled?
  • How does the FS do deletes (i.e. remove a file)?
  • How does the FS do inserts (i.e. create a file)?
  • Does the filesystem need to be defragmented?
  • How is caching being handled for that filesystem?
  • What are the FS-features (e.g. compression)?
  • How does the FS recover from crashes (journalling, ...)?

Keep in mind that NTFS is evolving as well.

The question which one is better depends on the use-case. There are points, where NTFS is "better" and there are points where EXT4 is "better". It depends on the specific needs which is more important.

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    Note that the need to defrag an FS is the fault of a bad driver, not the FS itself. Caching is also a function of the driver/kernel, not the FS itself.
    – psusi
    Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 2:18
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    Yes, and whether that happens or not is up to how new blocks are allocated, which has nothing to do with the filesystem format, and everything to do with the driver.
    – psusi
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 3:00
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    The structure allows files to be placed almost anywhere. It is up to the driver to pick where when you write a file. The Microsoft driver on windows chooses badly, which is why you have to go back later and move the blocks with the defragger. Linux has spent a lot of effort making its drivers choose where to put the blocks better so it gets it right the first time and doesn't need to move them later.
    – psusi
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 0:03
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    Psusi is correct in that the fragmentation is not inherent to the on disk format but the driver implementation. However it's very hard to make an objective comparison as NTFS on Linux is not particularly well optimised. It's true that ext3/4 on Linux is more fragmentation-resistant than NTFS on windows, though, and yes that is still the driver, not the filesystem, primarily affecting that.
    – trr
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 7:56
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    If the Windows driver was designed to scatter the files around the disk, it would reduce the fragmentation in the same manner as Linux+ext4 achieves it. Linux will even reduce the capacity of the drive to reduce fragmentation, similiar to what SSDs do to improve wear leveling. But there is absolutely no reason why the physical layout of file extents would differ between NTFS and ext4.
    – vgru
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 11:13
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"Better" is subjective and not very meaningful. Nevertheless, you can get a good comparison of filesystems (including NTFS and ext4) on Wikipedia. There's also an article on PC World that covers it more briefly.

Ultimately you should remember that performance metrics in this case are not really a good measure of filesystem performance, there are too many variables involved, especially in that the performance of a filesystem is very related to the performance of the driver being used to access it.

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  • The performance is more related to the way lookups, inserts and deletes are handled. This is comparable to search/sorting algorithms. The algorithm is more important than the processor-power.
    – Nils
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 21:59
  • @Nils Well, that's both in the domain of the driver and the underlying specification. (also did I really type "two" instead of "too"? jeez.)
    – Chris Down
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 22:10
  • IMHO The driver can`t be that wrong, if there is a good principle for the file system. The driver is more important when raw performance matters (e.g. with graphic card drivers).
    – Nils
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 22:25
  • @Nils That's kind of my point, I think NTFS is just fundamentally badly designed.
    – Chris Down
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 22:26
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    That pc world article is not very good. One of the strongest points it makes in favour of NTFS is that Word documents are smaller than OpenOffice/LibreOffice documents -??? Also it throws around terms like extents and allocate on flush without saying what NTFS does instead or why it's better.
    – trr
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 8:04

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