Formatting External Hard drive to NTFS Default Allocation Size?

[qanda]This thread is about the Western Digital My Bookâ„¢ World Edition 1TB. Click here to see full specs[/qanda]Alright I have been backing up video projects to external hard drives for some time now all of which have been formatted to NTFS. I use a Windows XP operating system for editing and backup of all files related to the Video projects.

I recently bought a couple more hard drives from Best Buy (the western digital 1 terabyte my book) and found that they were all formatted to FAT. No big deal, I right clicked on the drive in my computer and selected quick format to NTFS. I have been selecting the default allocation size but I don’t know exactly what that means. I don’t want to format all my drives this way to find out later that I have been screwing myself over.

What does the default allocation size mean and is it the best route to use for backing up video? I have already determined that I should be using NTFS because FAT just cannot handle the larger file sizes required for the video.

Thank you very much for your time!

I believe the default size is 4KB, but since you are storing large video files you might want to increase that to 16KB or 32KB for a little better peformance, I think the max is 64KB. The only thing about not using the 4KB is you can’t compress the drive but that’s probalby not something you intend to do anyway.

Hi jbandy1 and welcome,

Agree with Whappo.
Since you’re backing up video files, you’re better off to use allocation sizes of 32 KB or 64 KB.
The trade-off is performance vs. wasted space.

If you were archiving small files, you would be wasting storage with a large allocation size.
Since you will be archiving video files (large files), the larger allocation size will provide better performance.

Ok so if I select a larger default allocation size I will have increased performance.
But using the default 4 kb won’t hurt anything, it will just decrease performance? Is that correct?

I should also add that within the project files which I’m backing up I have included smaller files such as bitmaps, psd’s, and word documents so it’s not only large video files.

I think I should probably stick with the default allocation size. I haven’t run into any file size restrictions or noticeable decreases in performance yet. Is there any other reason I should use a larger allocation size for my backups?
And I don’t plan on ever compressing anything.

The choice is entirely yours to make. Don’t over think it and don’t worry about it. If you are satisfied with the performance you have now, that’s fine. Not too many of us sit in front of our computers with a stopwatch hoping to see if we’ve saved a millsecond or two during a file read/write.

But as [B]maineman[/B] says, it’s not necessarily speed of read/write which is affected, but also total capacity.

Any block of whatever size has to have some space within it reserved for disk filing system parameters, as well as data. This reserved space is the same size whether it’s a 64K or a 4K block. It therefore follows that a 64k block has significantly more space for data than the ‘equivalent’ 16 x 4K blocks.

I’d say if the vast majority of what’s being stored is video, and always likely to be so, then you should choose the largest block size possible (yes, even 4096).

My opinion is that since we’re talking about external hard disks, you will not see any difference, no matter what cluster size you choose. I would go with the default and I would not think about it a lot!

Thanks for all the information, I really appreciate your help.

Just had to say thx for everyone for their answers. helpful here.

I was in the same predicament and reading your answers got me going just fine THANK YOU ALL.

Frankly I’d leave it alone.

the purpose to NTFS is to allow smaller block sizes.

IF you ever defragment NTFS with smaller block sizes will allow faster defragmentation.

There are a lot of changeable paramaters that most people have no buisness messing with
increasing the block size defeats the purpose of changing from FAT32 to NTFS.