File system is the place to store
and recovery data; depend to the operating system it may FAT (File Allocation
Table) or NTFS (New Technology file system). If we look through the file
structure, Storage Mechanisms and file name, file date
and time, security we can find many feature difference
between these two


File structure

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Depend to the array bit of the
entries in the actual FAT structure on the disk. FAT file system has many
different versions like FAT 12, FAT 16, and FAT 32. The major physical layout
components of FAT file system are:

 Reserved area (volume boot sector) – include
the data in the file system category

 File allocation table – contain the primary
and backup FAT structure

 Data area- contain the cluster which allocated
store file and directory content

 There normally two FATs (FAT1 and FAT2) in a FAT
file system but the exact number of FAT and total size of FAT need determine in
the boot sector. If digital forensic investor need identify the file name,
size, start address of the file content and other metadata, they need check the
directory entry in the file allocate table

start using NTFs since window 2000; NTFS has better data structure and metadata
support than FAT file system, unlike FAT file system NTFS do not have special
layout all the important data is allocated as files. The first 16 sectors are boot
record, disk signatures and table of primary partitions. The center of the NTFS
file system is the MFT (Master File Table) it keeps the record all the file and
folder in the NTFS volume. File name start with $ are MFT stored metadata file.
. The following table showing the major system files of NTFS system and their


File name

File function


Master file table, each MFT record is
1024 bytes long


Backup of MFT


The file used for system recovery and integrity


Identify information about NFT version
and volume name


Attribute information


Track the allocation of eight cluster


Contain the partition boot sector and
boot code


Bad cluster information of the partition


Secure information of the file






Storage Mechanisms and file name storage


The NTFS and FAT file system both keep the
data in the cluster, but the NTFS use smaller cluster size which means the NTFS
can store more data. As we discuss before NTFS use Master file Table but FAT
use directory entries and file allocation table, when the forensics investor
exam the NFTS disk they can find file information from 0 sectors .there are 3
attribute important for the forensic investigation $STAND_INFORMATION, $FILE_NAME
and $DATA attribute. All the file name and directory information are in these
three attribute. FAT file system the data won’t be record after reserved area
and File Allocation Table areas, also same extract sector after data area when
the forensic investor exam FAT file system they need check the hide data in
these sectors.  In FAT file system the entire
file will save under long file name


File date and time


When the forensic investor exam a file
system they need careful about the file date and time stamps. NTFS store the
file’s date and time in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) but FAT stores the
file on computer local time.




FAT file system cannot encryption form internal;
the only way to secure is external program. Compare with FAT file system NTFS
have been improved their security system; NFTS have access control and file
encryption. The file only can access after the user login.




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