<CT> Re: WFWG on FAT32

  • From: Erwin Dokter <edokter@xxxxxxx>
  • To: calmira_tips@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 00:00:12 +0100

BEN09880@xxxxxxx wrote:
> Sorry to burst your bubble... but FAT32 does NOT use SMALLER cluster sizes... 
> Actually, it uses LARGER cluster sizes...

No, they are smaller...

I am not going to explain it, instead, I'm going to quote the creators
of FAT32:


   " Description of the FAT32 File System (Q154997)


     This article describes the FAT32 file system that is included with
Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2), Windows 98, and Windows
Millennium Edition (Me). 


     Windows 95 OSR2, Windows 98, and Windows Me include an updated
version of the FAT file system. This updated version is called FAT32.
The FAT32 file system allows for a default cluster size as small as 4
KB, and includes support for EIDE hard disk sizes larger than 2
gigabytes (GB). 

     FAT32 Features 

     FAT32 provides the following enhancements over previous
implementations of the FAT file system: 

     * FAT32 supports drives up to 2 terabytes in size. 

     * NOTE : Microsoft Windows 2000 only supports FAT32 partitions up
to a size of 32 GB. 

     * FAT32 uses space more efficiently. FAT32 uses smaller clusters
(that is, 4-KB clusters for drives up to 8 GB in size), resulting in 10
to 15 percent more efficient use of disk space relative to large FAT or
FAT16 drives. 

          FAT32 is more robust. FAT32 can relocate the root folder and
use the backup copy of the file allocation table instead of the default
copy. In addition, the boot record on FAT32 drives is expanded to
include a backup copy of critical data structures. Therefore, FAT32
drives are less susceptible to a single point of failure than existing
FAT16 drives. 

          FAT32 is more flexible. The root folder on a FAT32 drive is an
ordinary cluster chain, so it can be located anywhere on the drive. The
previous limitations on the number of root folder entries no longer
exist. In addition, file allocation table mirroring can be disabled,
allowing a copy of the file allocation table other than the first one to
be active. These features allow for dynamic resizing of FAT32
partitions. Note, however, that although the FAT32 design allows for
this capability, it will not be implemented by Microsoft in the initial

     FAT32 Compatibility Considerations 

     To maintain the greatest compatibility possible with existing
programs, networks, and device drivers, FAT32 was implemented with as
little change as possible to the existing Windows architecture, internal
data structures, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and on-disk
format. However, because 4 bytes are now required to store cluster
values, many internal and on-disk data structures and published APIs
have been revised or expanded. In some cases, existing APIs will not
work on FAT32 drives. Most programs will be unaffected by these changes.
Existing tools and drivers should continue to work on FAT32 drives.
However, MS-DOS block device drivers (for example, Aspidisk.sys) and
disk tools will need to be revised to support FAT32 drives. 

     All of the Microsoft bundled disk tools (Format, Fdisk, Defrag, and
MS-DOS- based and Windows-based ScanDisk) have been revised to work with
FAT32. In addition, Microsoft is working with leading device driver and
disk tool manufacturers to support them in revising their products to
support FAT32. "

-- Erwin Dokter
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