Does Windows 8 need to be installed on an NTFS partition or does it just like to be on one?

If I installed it on NTFS and then copied all its files on to a FAT32 partition would it work or would it throw a tantrum and refuse to work?

  • 10
    Why do you want to install on a FAT32 partition? A filesystem that hasn't seen any real updates in almost 20 years? Jul 2, 2014 at 11:34
  • @MichaelThorpe I have a 64GB flash-drive and it needs to be fat32 because it has other bootable tools that work with Linux and Linux doesn't support write to NTFS natively.
    – 09stephenb
    Jul 2, 2014 at 11:41
  • 6
    You can have multiple partitions on your flash drive. Jul 2, 2014 at 15:59
  • 12
    I happily read and write files in NTFS partitions from Ubuntu (12.10). I have both compressed and uncompressed files, and neither causes problems. But if you're bothered create a FAT32 transfer partition.
    – AFH
    Jul 2, 2014 at 16:53
  • Another solution if you can't get NTFS writing to work with your Linux system (I have some systems based on older Debian versions that can't write to NTFS, so I understand that it can be an issue if you're stuck with out-of-date tools) would be to create a file on the drive that is mounted as a loopback device, and use one of the filesystem merging systems as your root. Look at how live CDs with persistent storage features work, e.g. the Ubuntu install CD.
    – Jules
    Jul 2, 2014 at 17:45

3 Answers 3


Windows NT 6.x cannot be installed to a FAT or FAT32 partition, because they make extensive use of advanced features of the NTFS filesystem, like hard links and junctions.

Besides, allowing users to install to FAT/FAT32 in previous versions provided a false sense of security, since these filesystems do not support access control. Remember that one of the much-touted features of Vista was increased security.

  • How about an ext4 partition? Jul 4, 2014 at 17:58
  • 1
    @shortstheory Not without access to the Windows source — you would need to add support to the bootloader.
    – kinokijuf
    Jul 4, 2014 at 19:38

Windows Vista and higher won't install to FAT32, and can only be installed to an NTFS partition. This is probably due to the use of symlinks, which is not supported in FAT32.

As for copying files, thats a no. Windows needs to be installed in order for the installer to configure your boot order properly. Just copying files won't do it.


You can't install windows on a FAT partition. You shouldn't use a FAT partition for your Windows install. You can use a program like AOMEI partition manager to create a new partition, but you can't delete your existing partition.

  • 5
    You should specify the Windows version you're talking about in the answer. Many versions of Windows (basically everything through XP) could/can be installed to a FAT partition.
    – nobody
    Jul 2, 2014 at 17:38
  • 1
    @AndrewMedico while it of course doesn't hurt to be specific, it's pretty clear from the context of the question - which is asking about Windows 8, that is what is meant.
    – MrN00b
    Jul 3, 2014 at 3:20
  • Windows 9x have no idea of NTFS, not even install on it. Windows XP can be installed on both FAT32 and NTFS but not FAT16 or FAT12
    – phuclv
    Jun 14, 2017 at 16:14

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