I'm working on a backup application (something like dropbox, only for different market and different purpose), For this, I need to reliably track changes made to file system.

Because of the way Windows works (see my other question about it here), the only reliable way to track changes on the file system is by getting modification date directly from NTFS disks via the change journal.

I was able to do this, it works wonder, and even support/handle massive changes (ie. copying large folders), but this only works on NTFS disks.

My application target Windows XP+, I know NTFS has been the default file system since XP. I highly suspect most use NTFS, but I still wonder if there's a reliable recent statistic about usage of FAT32.

In other words, I'd like to know if it's worth bothering to support FAT32 disks

  • 1
    Do you plan on supporting USB drives? – Austin T French Mar 24 '13 at 4:14
  • @AthomSfere: Most likely no. – TheDude Mar 24 '13 at 4:26

You can read last modified time for FAT too, and with .NET it should be very easy on Windows at least. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc938438.aspx

That said, if you are ONLY reading Windows volumes, then NTFS is probably good enough, we are rapidly approaching sizes of drives where FAT just makes no sense at all. But, if USB devices are going to be used, these are often still FAT.

If you are using .NET for your application, I would go ahead and add it (It might even work already with the native .NET classes). If you are using some sort of C++ and COM then it might not be worth it.

  • This "last modified time" is a file property; it isn't the same as NTFS change journals. – grawity Mar 24 '13 at 11:07
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    @grawity: I know and unfortunately it isn't trustworthy at all - I can only trust the time stamp in the change journal (see my SO question about it) – TheDude Mar 25 '13 at 4:42

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