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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (Operating Systems)
 9  Chapter 0001:  File Structure
      9  II  File structure and FAT

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FAT 16
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FAT 32

FAT 32 removed the 2 GB limit on file system size. Up to 2 TB (Terabytes) can be addressed with FAT 32. The cluster sizes in FAT 32 are much smaller (given 2^32 can address a much higher number), allowing more efficient use of disk space, with less wasted space. The 512 file limit for the root directory is gone, and the indexing system in FAT 32 is much more s table than FAT 16.

Other technical improvements in FAT 32 over FAT 16 abound. There are enough changes to fill a white paper (which Microsoft did). Everything from the stability via redundancy (2nd FAT) to more stable drive mapping can be found in FAT 32.

FAT 32 is supported by Windows 95B, Windows 98 and Windows 2000. Note that it is not available in Windows 95 (original release) or NT 4.

To make it easy to convert to FAT 32, Microsoft included in Win 95 B, Win 98, and Windows 2000 the Drive Converter.

This program will convert FAT 16 to FAT 32, but not backwards, so be sure when you use it, that you won’t need to go back – or that you have a good backup of your FAT 16 data!


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