Store and retrieve data

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Unit 2

Hard Drives and Operating Systems

Step by Step

For it to store and retrieve data on a hard drive, and keep track of multiple partitions and multiple drives, significant portions of OSs have to be dedicated to managing hard drives. A partition is a portion of a hard drive recognized by the OS as a separate and complete entity; it is not the divider between these portions as the name suggests.

File Systems

The OS has to have a method of storing and organizing files on a drive. There are different file systems used by Windows and DOS to serve that purpose:

File Allocation Table (FAT): Better known today as FAT16 for its 16-bit file storage, this is the original DOS and Windows file system. Its storage efficiency is the lowest of all file systems in use and it is highly susceptible to fragmentation (portions of files spread out all over the drive resulting in slow performance and additional wear). Additionally, FAT16 limits file names to eight characters plus a three-character extension. The maximum partition size for FAT16 is 4GB. FAT16 is the only file system accessible in all versions of Windows and DOS, and is the only file system usable

FAT32: FAT32 stores files more efficiently than FAT16 and has support for long filenames. FAT32 drives can be read by every version of Windows. The maximum partition size for FAT32 is very large, although there is a 32GB limit in Windows XP.

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NTFS: The original version of NTFS was introduced with Windows NT. A newer version was introduced in Windows 2000, and it is the default file system for 2000 and XP. NTFS is somewhat resistant to fragmentation and allows for many of Windows 2000 and XP's security features not available in FAT16 or 32. The maximum size for an NTFS partition is two terabytes (TB), which is 2 bytes, or 2048GB. Windows 9x and DOS cannot use NTFS.

To select a file system for a hard drive, you have to format the drive. When installing Windows 9x, you can use the DOS ...

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