NTFS Is a Really Bad File System

I really have limited choices for my home PC for my wife. She uses Photoshop, likes Word and Outlook, and loves our Logitech Squeeze (now a defunct product), so I have a Windows PC.

This weekend our Squeeze box started to skip songs. I had an eerie feeling that it was broken, but figured it was time for a bit of debugging. I, of course, powered it on and off, powered off the routers and checked router performance to make sure the router was not dying—all to no avail.

I was then getting really worried that we would need a new music system. So I tried the Logitech boom box we had, and it had the same problem, which meant it was the PC. I looked at the error logs and found nothing. So I powered everything off and on, thinking it might be the WiFi card.

I then remembered that the last time this happened I needed to upgrade memory as the song and album database had gotten too big for the system. So I checked the memory size and paging performance. That was not the problem, but the disk performance was slow.

Was the disk going bad? It had no errors. It had always cleanly shutdown and booted, so I decided to scan the disk for file system and disk errors, using an MS tool. It took over two hours to run this check, and it found nothing. But when I booted up everything was working properly again.

Clearly there was a file system or disk problem that had been fixed, but the logs showed that nothing was found. Why? This never happens on a Linux system nor on any other file system I have worked on. Windows reported nothing even after the file system check, and the system has been working properly for now three days.

I have complained publicly about NTFS design for years in terms of performance and reliability, but after wasting three hours of my time, I ask the question: Is NTFS the world’s worst file system currently on the market?

I know what my answer is.

Labels: Windows,Linux,file system,ntfs,disk drive

posted by: Henry Newman

Henry Newman, InfoStor Blogger
by Henry Newman
InfoStor Blogger

Henry Newman is CEO and CTO of Instrumental Inc. and has worked in HPC and large storage environments for 29 years. The outspoken Mr. Newman initially went to school to become a diplomat, but was firmly told during his first year that he might be better suited for a career that didn't require diplomatic skills. Diplomacy's loss was HPC's gain.

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