What Is NTFS (New Technology File System)?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

NTFS is a journaling file system that stores metadata through the use of a partition boot sector, a master file table, and system files. Explore more about NTFS and its features.

[Featured image] A IT support specialist is researching the New Technology File System.

New Technology File System or NT File System (NTFS) provides virtual space to organize and store files. It also notes file positions in folders, creation dates, and details about access and provides data encryption. 

NTFS was developed by Microsoft and launched in 1993 to replace its predecessor, the file allocation table (FAT) system, for better performance and enhanced data support. Recent Windows versions and various Windows Server use NTFS as the primary system.  

Key features of NTFS

The system offers advanced functions, including increased reliability, security encryptions, large volume support, and administrative control, making it a high-performance and powerful storage solution.

  • Journaling file system: One of the essential features allowing NTFS to improve the reliability of the system and data integrity is its transaction journal. A particular benefit is that it completes its journaling before making changes to the disk, which allows faster recovery without data loss in the instance of a power or system failure in the midst of disk changes.

  • Advanced security: The Access Control List (ACL) feature grants administrators authority to set permissions for specific groups or users to access or restrict files and folders. BitLocker Drive Encryption provides device encryption support, which increases the security level for critical system information and stored data. The encryption prevents access from external sources by blocking files needed to discover the user's passwords.

  • Extensive volume support: On newer versions of Windows, including Windows Server 19, Windows 10 version 1709, and newer, NTFS supports volumes as great as eight petabytes, although the size and number of clusters can impact the system’s capability.

  • Logging: Tracking files is conveniently done by an administrator through the master file table’s logging and auditing system. Records provide access to see what has been added, removed, or altered.

  • Capacity allocation: Administrators have the capacity to assign disk usage quotas to individual users, which is effective for tracking and controlling space used on shared network drives.

  • Quick access to files: NTFS uses complex binary trees to index files, enabling rapid retrieval for file access. 

Read more: Information Technology (IT) Terms: A to Z Glossary

Take the next step toward a career in IT support

Ready to start your career in the field of IT support? Having proficiency in working with NTFS is only the beginning. Consider gaining more extensive skills and exploring how to use systems and perform day-to-day IT support tasks with the Google IT Support Professional Certificate on Coursera. Upon completion, gain exclusive access to career resources like resume review, interview prep, and career support.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.