Linked by Andrew Hudson on Mon 29th Nov 2010 21:50 UTC
Windows NTFS is the file system used by Windows. It is a powerful and complicated file system. There are few file systems that provide as many features and to fully cover them all would require a book. And in fact there is a book detailing NTFS, and it's already out of date. The purpose of this article is not to cover all of the features of NTFS, nor will it exhaustively cover NTFS features in detail. Instead we will cover its basic structure and then describe some of its more advanced features and provide use examples where possible. We will focus more on what it does, rather than how it does it. Trying to walk the line between informative and detailed is difficult and so this article contains a lot of references for people who hunger for more detail.
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Comment by jwwf
by jwwf on Tue 30th Nov 2010 00:12 UTC
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Nice article. Never have had any real trouble with NTFS that wasn't related to hardware problems. I have seen some hair-raising MFT statistics though, eg an 800 GB MFT on an 7 TB volume, as reported by a sysinternals tool. The volume contained maybe 35 million files of a few dozen bytes each (among other things), and I believe they were being inlined into the MFT. I'm not complaining though since it did work despite these crazy numbers.

I don't know if the MFT buffering algorithm was smart enough to separate inlined, cold files from useful metadata (probably not), but I do believe that not being able to buffer much, if any of the MFT kills performance. Questions like these are why I really wish that the OS that runs most of the world's computers was open source: Windows is pretty good, but there is a lot of stuff you just can't easily find out about its internals.

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