What File System Does Windows 7 Use?

Uncover the driving force behind the performance of Windows 7.

The file system is a crucial component that determines how files are named and stored on a storage disk. Without a file system in use, the stored information on storage drives would be difficult to obtain. In Windows, there are different file systems available, but if you want to find out about the most commonly used one by Windows 7, then this article will provide you with the answer. Let’s explore the topic further.

What File System Does Windows 7 Use

What File System Does Windows 7 Use?

By default, Windows 7 uses NTFS (New Technology File System). It is a type of file system that stores and retrieves files on a storage disk. Compared to FAT and HPFS file systems, NTFS provides better retrieval procedures and good data protection. Some of the other benefits of NTFS are security, performance, and extendibility. It is also used for older versions such as Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

On the other hand, FAT is a file system mainly created for hard drives. It provides minimal wear and tear on hard drives, which in turn extends their life. However, FAT file systems, such as FAT8, FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32, are not as commonly seen in modern operating systems like Windows 7.

Which is Better: FAT32 or NTFS?

You might wonder which is better, FAT32 or NTFS. Before we conclude, let us weigh the benefits of both file systems.


  • Higher disk utilization compared to FAT32.
  • Faster read and write speeds.
  • Enhanced security through the Encryption File System (EFS) protocol, preventing unauthorized access.
  • Less susceptible to fragmentation, reducing the need for frequent defragmentation.
  • Performs well on partitions larger than 400MB.
  • Not extensively supported, and performance degrades under partitions of 400MB.


  • Good compatibility with different operating systems.
  • Used as a primary partition in multi-boot systems.
  • Supports files up to 4 GB in size.
  • More prone to corruption.
  • Lacks file permissions support.

Also Read: How to Increase RAM on Windows 7 & 10

How to Choose the Right File System

After knowing about the file system that Windows 7 uses, you might want to know which one is good for you. By Comparing both file systems above, we can conclude that both have their strengths and weaknesses. So, the need for one type of file system depends on the user.

FAT32 is best used on removable storage devices such as digital cameras and Smart TVs. While, NTFS is commonly used for large hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs), as it can handle large files more effectively.

How to Convert NTFS to FAT32

To convert NTFS to FAT32, Windows provides an in-built disk management tool. Follow these steps to perform the conversion:

1. To open the Disk Management tool, Right-click on the Start menu and click on Disk Management.

To open the disk management tool, Right-click on the Start menu and click on Disk Management

2. Right-click the drive you wish to format.

Note: When selecting which drives to format, double-check the drive letter before formatting because if you accidentally format the wrong drive, there is a risk of data loss.

3. Now, click on Format.

Click on Format….

4. Select Fat32 from the File system drop-down.

Select Fat32 from the file system drop-down.

Note: You can also name the drive in the volume label.

5. Finally, click OK to format the drive.

We hope this article helped you learn about what file system does Windows 7 use. Feel free to leave your suggestions and queries in the comment section below. Keep reading our blog for such helpful guides!

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