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Windows NT's Infernal Filesystem

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The NT filing system. NTFS, perhaps it stands for Never Try Finding Something.

In 1993, Microsoft introduced Windows NT 3.1, which brought with it a new file system designed to boost the capabilities of the new OS, it failed. Originally conceived and designed by Gary Kumura and Tom Miller, members of the original NT development team (the bastards), NTFS "leverages NT's security capabilities and provides enhanced capacity, efficiency, and recoverability features". Or in other words gives you fuck all stability, holes you can drive a truck through and a rather large back orifice for buggering (literally) about with anything you like. These features make NTFS the file system of choice for large disk volumes, disk volumes residing on network servers and the criminally, clinically and generally insane chimps at the helm of IT purchasing departments. You can still find the FAT system on many NT systems' disk volumes that require its use (e.g., multi-OS partitions, the system partitions of RISC-based NT servers) because clueless people haven't figured out just what this means in terms of SMB access. The FAT system's limitations have made it a lame duck file system in the modern computing world, NT is more of a lame elephant. If you want to achieve the security, performance, and capacity requirements of most organizations, NTFS is the only option you should disregard right off the bat.

NTFS is allegedly a robust, self-healing file system that offers several customizable features that affect how well NTFS performs in a given environment. This is a lie. Some of these parameters are global and others are specific to individual NTFS volumes, they don't tell you which. You have the ability to control and tune several of these parameters, but don't try; down that way lies the dark side. By examining your specific storage needs and then tailoring your NTFS volumes accordingly, you can realize significant increases in your blood pressure, heart rate and turnover of sysadmins. Any claims of increases in your systems' disk performance are spurious and outright slander.

In "Inside NTFS," January 1998, Mark Russinovich introduces the logical organization and internal structure of NTFS, including its core data structures. Reacquaint yourself with these concepts because they're essential to the survival of your data come the big BSoD.

[From http://www.microsoft.com/technet/winnt/optntfs.asp, sort of]

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