I spotted this article when I was finding out why my new 16Gb USB flash disk came formatted as FAT32, and Windows XP Professional wasn't allowing me to format it as NTFS. I'm going to reproduce the article here.
[size]If you've ever wondered why you can't format your USB drives to NTFS, it's because by default, Windows XP won't allow you to do so except to format the drive as either FAT or FAT32. However, it's fairly easy to get around this obstacle and enable the NTFS file system on your removable devices.
NTFS has several advantages over FAT and FAT32, the primary one being that you can store files larger than 2Gb (FAT's limit) or larger than 4Gb (FAT32's limit). NTFS also allows you encrypt your files with Windows' built in file encryption, and to manipulate security permissions on individual files and folders for specific Windows users. Unfortunately, the NTFS file system may not be detected on some Linux systems.
Here is how to format USB drive with NTFS:
First, plug your USB device into a free USB port of your computer. Wait until Windows finishes detecting the device, and then right-click
on My Computer
. Click on Manage
Navigate to the Device Manager and then expand the Disk Drives section. You should see your USB drive listed there.
Right-click on the USB drive and select Properties. Click on the Policies tab.
You will be presented with two options, one is “Optimize for quick removal