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So what I did was I open the properties tab and change the checked markings from OPTIMIZE FOR QUICK REMOVAL to OPTIMIZE FOR PERFORMANCE, so that Windows XP would allow me to format it in NTFS.

Now my question is: After I had formatted my USB stick using NTFS, should I bring back the "OPTIMIZE FOR QUICK REMOVAL" checked mark, or just leave it with the new setting: "OPTIMIZE FOR PERFORMANCE".


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closed as primarily opinion-based by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Tog, Nifle, Dave M, Excellll Aug 13 '13 at 13:36

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

As long as you do not have helpful colleagues who yank out USB pen drives without first using the safe removal option then "optimise for performance" is a good choice to gain some performance for free. If you have other people around or sometimes forget to do this then select the training mode wheel option. (aka optimize for quick removal). – Hennes Aug 12 '13 at 17:36
up vote 1 down vote accepted

According to a comment by Adrian Oney, a Microsoft developer, in this conversation:

What's the issue? Optimize for Performance to format. Format. Change to Optimize for Quick Removal. Done. (Had to do just this a couple of weeks ago for my external firewire drive.)

— Phli, 6 Apr 2004 4:26 AM

Reply (emphasis added):

What's the issue? Optimize for Performance to format. Format. Change to Optimize for Quick Removal. Done. (Had to do just this a couple of weeks ago for my external firewire drive.)

I'm afraid that won't work. A filesystem that supports quick removal will flush lazy writes quickly (~1 sec). The FAT driver in XP does this, while the NTFS driver in XP doesn't. So fiddling with the optimize option after the formatting won't help.

NTFS also plays poorly with hibernate. Here's a good way to corrupt your drive:

  1. hibernate with your 1394/USB drive attached
  2. Take it to another machine and add files
  3. Bring it back to the original machine and resume

The FAT driver will remount the drive, tossing out all its cached state on the assumption an offline edit may have occured. NTFS doesn't do this. Thus it'll be using stale cached metadata after the resume, the result being drive corruption.

In summary - NTFS in XP just doesn't play with removable media well.

— Adrian Oney, 6 Apr 2004 9:12 AM

In short, the Windows XP NTFS driver does not support "Quick Removal" mode.

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grawity: So do u mean, the best thing i can do now is to reformat AGAIN my USB stick on my own PC running Windows 8? – Askto Gainknowledge Aug 12 '13 at 20:02
@AsktoGainknowledge Reformatting again on Windows 8 won't help you use it on a Windows XP system. Grawity's point is that using an NTFS removable drive on Windows XP is a Bad Idea(TM) – Darth Android Aug 12 '13 at 20:31
@ Grawity, Darth Android: So what to do now? I'm using Windows 8 at home, but at my workplace, I'm using Windows XP. I just want my USB stick to be able to store/handle files which is more than 4gb, coz im planning to encryp a folder inside it 15gb, then also able to be used on WinXP at workplace, and Win8 at home. – Askto Gainknowledge Aug 12 '13 at 20:36
I think we are getting away with the original question. I'm not into optimizing my USB stick or anything like that. I just want to know if, after reformatting my USB stick using NTFS on WindowsXP, is it required to bring it back to its original state (OPTIMIZE FOR QUICK REMOVAL), or can I just leave it that way (OPTIMIZE FOR PERFORMANCE)? Because the original setting is (OPTIMIZE FOR QUICK REMOVAL), I just changed it because WindowsXP doesn't give me the NTFS option if the setting is in "Quick Removal". Hope u can interpret what I wanna say here. What is the best thing to do now? Thanks.. – Askto Gainknowledge Aug 12 '13 at 20:52
@AsktoGainknowledge: No, it is not required, and if you actually read the quote in my answer, it says the exact opposite – that setting it to "quick removal" will not even work reliably. – grawity Aug 12 '13 at 22:48

The "Optimize for Quick Removal" setting forces any changes to data on the USB stick to be written immediately when they're made; the "Optimize for Performance" setting allows writes to be buffered as they usually are for a mass storage device. The former is slower; the latter offers increased scope for data corruption, in that pulling out the USB stick, while writes remain in the buffer to be committed, will cause those writes (and their changes to the data) to be lost. Your use case determines which option you should choose.

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You always want to optimize removable drives for quick removal.

When a drive is optimized for performance, Windows enables a write-back cache for the drive. What this means is that when you copy data to the drive, Windows will put it in a special place in memory marked as "stuff that needs to be written to the drive", and then tell the application that the copy has finished. This allows the application to be very quick and responsive.

The problem is now you think that the data has been written to the drive, when in fact it hasn't. Windows will slowly write it to the drive when the drive isn't busy, but if you remove the drive before it's done, then you will have corrupt data on the drive (this is why should should always safely eject drives before removing them).

Optimizing for quick removal disables this write-back cache, so that applications actually have to wait until the data is actually copied to the drive.

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Thanks guys for those very clear and detailed explanations. So you both mean that it is not required, right? It is still up to me whichever I want. I just thought when formatted in NTFS, I should be choosing the PERFORMANCE option, coz thats what I did before I reformatted my drive, some google search told me to change the settings so that Windows XP would allow me the NTFS option. Thank you guys. – Askto Gainknowledge Aug 12 '13 at 18:42
@AsktoGainknowledge Per grawity's answer, actually, you don't want to be using NTFS on removable volumes at all. (Is there a particular reason you want to do that? In this context, what do you get from NTFS that FAT32 can't provide?) – Aaron Miller Aug 12 '13 at 20:10
@ Aaron Miller: Fat32 won't allow me to save files which is more than 4gb. – Askto Gainknowledge Aug 12 '13 at 20:19

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