Home > Technology > HFS+ vs. NTFS File System

A file system is quite essential for a laptop or computer because it helps in data management on the different partitions of a computer in an orderly manner. The HFS+ and NTFS are well-known file systems in the market. However, unless you are a computer guru, the knowledge about these two can be hard to understand. But below is a guide on what a file system is, an overview of the two and their differences.

What is a File System?

A file system aids in providing information on how the data is stored and retrieved on any storage media such as SSD drives and hard drives. It also helps in saving data separately into specific bits. The bits are arranged in an orderly format and given a name to help you quickly identify what you are looking for. Different operating systems use specific file systems. Some of the known file systems are FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, HFS+ and many more.


It’s for Window operating system. It’s known as the New Technology File System. The NTFS features are similar to the IBM’s HPFS. It allows at most 16 TB of file size and a maximum of 256 TB file size partitions. Its file size makes it a lot better than other file systems. With the NTFS, you can name the characters with no more than 255 characters. The NTFS supports file level and LZ77 encryption. It entails a 4KB cluster size which is smaller than other file systems. The cluster size is significant because the smaller it is, ensures there is little-wasted storage for the small documents written to the drive. The NTFS has an (MFT) master file table that is in charge of storing files, their location, and access to data. The MFT stores directly the smallest data.

However, the MFT is prone to fragmentation because during format it’s not entirely written.


It requires a Mac Operating System. It’s also known as Mac OS Extended. One unique feature about it is that it’s able to work on all kinds of storage devices. You can easily mount its partitions on Linux and Unix OS. In an instance where a particular Kernel is incompatible with HFS+, there are optional repo packages that are available on the market. However, these alternatives only support reading of HFS+ formatted partitions. In case you want to use HFS+ on windows, the windows by paragon software come in handy. It supports a file name of up to 255 characters. It counters file fragmentation by allocating adequate space that is adequate for a file to be written.

The Differences

Now that you are familiar with these two file systems. The following are some of the differences that distinguish the two.

  • NTFS is a file system that works explicitly with windows OS. The HFS+, on the other hand, is for Mac OS. However, with the aid of software such as Paragon, you can use it in windows OS.
  • The other difference is regarding interoperability. The aspect of interoperability entails what drive format can work with a specific OS? Windows is capable of reading or writing NTSF format drives but can’t write or read an HFS+ formatted drive. On the other hand, a Mac OS can only read but not format an NTFS formatted drive. However, with the aid of third-party software, the OSs can read or write both file systems.

With the above information, you know have some knowledge of these file systems. If you are operating on Windows OS, you can use NTFS. If you are using Mac, you can use an HFS+ file system.

2 Comments, RSS

  • Greta Olsen

    says on:
    May 5, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    that is why i am using Mac, nothing to asked with regards to file system.

  • Mauren Croft

    says on:
    May 13, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Certified Windows user her and NFTS file system worked great to me. it is flexible and easy.

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