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The WinFS File System For Windows Longhorn: Faster & Smarter

FAT Problems Under Windows XP

Starting with Windows 95, FAT 16 was joined by a modified data system called V-FAT. This was the first system that could write long file names. With the advent of Windows 95b in 1996, Microsoft introduced the FAT 32 file system, which is still very widely used today. The FAT 32 system enables users to manage 8 GB volumes with cluster sizes of just 4 kB. For hard drives up to a maximum of 32 GB, the cluster size is 16 kB. FAT 32 also does not limit the number of directories or files in the root directory.

Despite all their disadvantages, FAT 16 and FAT 32 have not disappeared. Multi-OS systems still need these file systems. If you want to access the same volumes under Windows XP, Windows 98, Linux or DOS, you have to go by the smallest common denominator - something that can read and write on all systems, in this case the FAT 16 file system.

However, this luxury comes at a price for XP users: even with FAT 32, XP can only format partitions of up to 32 GB. Larger volumes can only be edited if they were created by other systems. Of course, partitions of this size only make sense in isolated cases anyway.