NTFS and MS-DOS(FAT32) Limitations

Just wondering what the maximum partition size/space allowed is for NTFS and MS-DOS(FAT32).

I think I heard something about FAT32 being something like 2 TB? Not sure.

FAT32 is up to 2TB, with a maximum file size of 4GB.

Some research shows that NTFS can support 16 exabytes by design, but Microsoft’s current implementation limits it to 256TB in Windows. File size in Windows is limited to 16TB.
Windows also limits the length of the file’s path to 260 characters whereas the actual limit in NTFS should be 32K characters.

I was thinking that was the case for FAT 32. Do you have some kind of reliable fall back for that? Like, trying to format a 3 TB or higher or something of the sort for MS-DOS (FAT 32)

Sorry, I just don’t have any drives at the moment that are higher than 2 TB so I’m unable to confirm on my own.

ms-dos 1 to 3.3 or 5 was 30 something, You would have 68 meg HD’s with 3 partitions on them

This guy breaks down each MS version

Back then all I could afford was 640mb Which an awesome upgrade from the MFM full height 68 meg unit

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I thought it was MBR formatted drives that are limited to four partitions of 2TB total (regardless of NTFS or exFAT)
So drives larger than 2TB would have to be formatted as GPT drives, which would allow many partitions, but each exFAT/FAT32 partition could only be 2TB.
Saying that, I don’t think some motherboards will boot from drives that are GPT, and some OS’s either.

It’s important to note that this limit is per partition, not per drive. Use 2 partitions and you’re going to be fine.

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This reminds me of when my friends CMOS battery died.

When he clears CMOS (or if the battery dies), it corrupts the BIOS and won’t let the PC boot.

I tried to flash his BIOS, but his mobo can only read drives below 2GB.
I was trying to use a 16gb USB drive.

It turns out I was able to make a 1GB partition on the USB drive and flash the bios!

expecting FAT16 or what :open_mouth:

Might also be something to do with GPT/GUID vs MBR

W10 actually can use longer file paths now. Its limited by a registry entry, for compatability I assume, but can be changed to exceed the 260 limit.

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That limitation was actually always just in Windows Explorer. You could create longer filenames and paths programatically or in the command line no problem, but Explorer would throw an error in your face on certain actions. It also displayed the shortened version with the Tilde, don’t know how it’s called.

Yeah, we had that problem in the company Dropbox a while back. Somehow someone managed to get a path of nearly 300 characters in there and Windows’ Explorer would not allow us to back that file up or even to shorten the file name. It was nothing that a Linux machine couldn’t fix though.

FAT32 can in fact go up to 8 TiB—with GParted. Windows Disk Utility doesn’t let you format a FAT32 partition bigger than 32 GiB. Can’t do it with MS fdisk diskpart either. Why? Who knows? Strong cases for malice and incompetence both at Microsoft. Of course, Windows will happily read a partition larger than 32 gigs—argh.

I’ve had that issue with NPM before because NPM’s dependency management is horrible. It would load a dependency that depended on some other thing that dependet on the first thing. And guess what happened…

You actually can rename them using the Explorer, you “just” have to shorten the path first. I had to go and rename every single directory using 1 letter each. That was a fun wasted 4 hours.

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That’s not true. I’ve had a 250GB disk back in the Win98 days (was formatted on XP though) that had 3 partitions (100-100-rest).

More likely a compatibility thing.
NTFS doesn’t let you use the full capacity of the filesystem either.

I don’t know what to tell you

I did make one mistake for sure though; I meant diskpart, not fdisk (there is no fdisk command in windows).

TIL diskpart doesn’t buffer your changes or give you a confirm prompt before formatting a volume (RIP flash drive).

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Hm. That’s certainly… Interesting.