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FAT system?



When someone is talking about hard drives and motherboards for their PC, etc... what do they mean by the FAT?


File Allocation Table.

Basically it's what your operating system works on. Original FAT which came abput when dos was around would only allow you to use a mamximum of 2 gigs per partition.

FAT 32, created on tyhe release of Windows 95 OSR2 would allow you to have drive partitions from anywhere betwwn 500 megs and well over and above 2 gig. But this will only allow you a maximum file size of 4 gig.

NTFS (NT File System, I think) Created when Windows NT was released, aparantly it's alot faster than the above, bt I have et to play with NTFS. However NTFS and FAT 32 do not see each other e.g drive with FAT 32 in an NTFS system will not bee seen by Windows.

Then there are the Linux FAT systems, but I don't actually know anything about those.


OSNN Gamer
Originally posted by Behemoth
File Allocation Table.

. However NTFS and FAT 32 do not see each other e.g drive with FAT 32 in an NTFS system will not bee seen by Windows.

not exactly true see pic


Originally posted by Behemoth
NTFS (NT File System, I think) Created when Windows NT was released, aparantly it's alot faster than the above, bt I have et to play with NTFS. However NTFS and FAT 32 do not see each other e.g drive with FAT 32 in an NTFS system will not bee seen by Windows.
Actually, you can use a FAT32-formatted HDD with a NTFS-formatted one. The only restiction with NTFS is that Windows 95, 98, ME and DOS won't see it.

XP and 2000 can use any combination of NTFS, FAT, FAT32.

Hope it helps!


xizor81 - Being anew guy hereI don't wanna start a war with any body, but unfortunatley I think you'll find Win XP won't runa combo of Fat 32 and NTFS. I was given a SCSI drive a coule of weeks back, and as soon as Windows was booted I'd get a a nasty blue screen saying something about there being an NTFS drive in the system with a Fat 32 drive.

I'm not saying I'm an expert and I certainly don't know it all, just reporting my findings.


OSNN Gamer

When to Use FAT or FAT32
If you're running more than one operating system on a single computer you will definitely need to format some of your volumes as FAT. Any programs or data that need to be accessed by more than one operating system on that computer should be stored on a FAT16 or possibly FAT32 volume. But keep in mind that you have no security for data on a FAT16 or FAT32 volume—any one with access to the computer can read, change, or even delete any file that is stored on a FAT16 or FAT32 partition. In many cases, this is even possible over a network. So do not store sensitive files on drives or partitions formatted with FAT file systems.


FAT systems

FAT16: Dos 6.22 Windows 3.1x Can only read Fat16 file types
FAT32: Windows95, 98, 98se, 2k, XP - can read FAT32 and FAT16
NTFS: Win NT, 2k, XP - Can read ALL drive types before it

I have a working install of WinXP with a Fat32 Drive and a fat 16 Drive (for my dos 6.22 and Win 3.11 - Dont' ask :p) and it reads writes perfectly well!

Win2k and XP will install just fine on a FAT32 file system and operate within exceptable perameters.

Ext2,Ext3,XFS,ReiserFS,Fat16,Fat32 are all file systems that Linux can read and write to and be installed on, though the MS file types are unpopular due to inherant disadvandages and unstabilities.

HPFS,NTFS, are file systems that can be read and written by Linux, but I'm not sure about being installed on, but then again who would want to?

Hope that helps.


Alrite, Let's say on my computer, I'm just running Win XP, and i wanna put Win2000 Pro and Win 98 on it. How many OS's could i put on their?



currently I have 6 operating systems on my pc

Dos 6.22
Os2/ warp

it's easy, install win98 first, win 2k second then xp last and partition accordingly

give 98 the second partition, 2k the third and XP the first

First partition leave unformatted (leave for XP to format when you do an install)

Second partition Fat32
Third, NTFS (leave for win2k to format that as well)



forgot something

Actually I forgot this, but there is a software app, that will let you read NTFS partitions (NTFS4 and NTFS5) from a Fat16 and Fat32 operating system (eg: MS-DOS 6.xx and Win95/98) but it won't let you write to them (saftey measures)

I'll post a link when I can find it again, it's not in my archives


I just have XP Pro installed right now, How do i know which partition to put the other OS's on when i try to install them?
Also, how do I choose how many GB's i am able to use for each OS and since I'm going to have 3 OS's whenever i right click on my computer, is it gonna tell me how much space i have for the whole system or just that OS im on when i do it?



IT depends on what you'll be using it for.

In Windows98 you won't be able to see the NTFS partitions at all. But in 2k and XP you will be able to see all the partitions.

On a minimim, I give my OS's each the following space.

Dos 6.22 - 1.1 gig
WinXP - 5 gigs
BeOS - 3 gigs,
Linux - 105 gigs
all out of a 120 gig hdd, 10 gig out of the 120 gigs are used for file inodes (the code that stores where each file is located, permissions given to that file per user etc...)

And it depends on how big your hdd is as well.

usually i give the OS you'd use the most the largest size partition.


it was explained above.

It depends.

In windows 98 you won't see the other partitions, so the properties display for your system resources will be limited to that hard drive.

In the NT based kernel OS's it'll tell you ALL hard drive partitioning relevant information (size of hdd's etc...)

If you have XP installed first and no other hard drive (and have the time/can afford to do it without your parents having a fit) Just reinstall all the OS's at once.

You'll first want to decide how much hard drive space to give each OS, and that depends on your needs.

Your partitioning scheme should look like this:

Partition 1: Primary partition UNFORMATTED (reserved for winXP)
PArtition 2: Primary partition UNFORMATTED (reserved for Win2k)
Partition 3: Primary Partition FORMATTED for Fat32 file system and used by Windows98

IF you have a third party partitioning software use it, if not, try to look for something. I'll post it when i can remember it's name :)


found it

It's called the Ranish Partition Manager found here:

It's a really nifty partition manager to use.

Ok lemme finish my post.

If you can't or dont' want to reformat and start from scratch try this.

DEFRAG your drive, then scandisk it to make sure there are no errors.

BACK UP ALL YOUR DATA! This cannot be said too many times or too loud. Use your CDR or another computer on a home network (if you have one)

Print out OR write down the information in the boot.ini file on your c:\ drive it's a hidden system file so just open notepad and ask it to open c:\boot.ini

This stores the boot information XP needs to boot

Resize the XP partition to what you want it to be with this boot disk. from Ranish (he's really a nice guy) Or use Partition magic, whatever works for ya

Create two more partitions, Fat32 and unformatted for 2k (both primary partitions)

XP boot disks:
I pulled the following information out of the Windows XP help and support:

FixmbrRepairs the master boot record of the boot disk. The fixmbr command is only available when you are using the Recovery Console.

fixmbr [device_name]



The device (drive) on which you want to write a new master boot record. The name can be obtained from the output of the map command. An example of a device name is:



The following example writes a new master boot record to the device specified:

fixmbr \Device\HardDisk0


If you do not specify a device_name, a new master boot record will be written to the boot device, which is the drive on which your primary system is loaded.
If an invalid or nonstandard partition table signature is detected, you will be prompted whether you want to continue. If you are not having problems accessing your drives, you should not continue. Writing a new master boot record to your system partition could damage your partition tables and cause your partitions to become inaccessible.
It might help. I'm not familliar with the Recovery console that comes on the XP installation boot disk, which allows you to recover from errors and over written MBR's. MBR is the Master Boot Record each Windows OS writes to so you can successfully boot to that OS.

I'm sure you can find something in windows help to learn.


i forget a lot

I've messed with the boot.ini a few times but here's a suggestion with what to do with it once you've installed the other OS's and have XP repair the MBR.

Open the Control Panel, System, Click the Advanced tab and under the 'STartup and Recovery' click Settings..

At the very top you'll see Default operating system.

Click the Edit button and then the boot.ini will pop up.

Mine looks something like this:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
C:\ = "MS-DOS 6.22"

I'm not sure how to edit this file, so I usually don't. But partition magic has a bootloader called Boot Magic that I'd highly recommend for people not comfortable with editing the boot.ini

Or if you're a unix based user try Lilo, for it supports booting into just about any OS you could dream of :)

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