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Choosing a File System

In addition to its partition boot sector and its DOS volume boot sector, each DOS partition also contains two copies of its FAT (pages 11, 21, 155). TheFAT is a matrix that correlates the files and folders stored in the partition with their physical locations on the hard disk. Two consecutive copies of the FAT are stored in the disk area before each partition. Like the boot sectors, the FATs are stored outside the disk area that is visible to the file system.

Note

Although the data structures that make up a partition's boot sectors and FAT tables cannot be displayed or manipulated by the standard Windows 98 file management utilities like Windows Explorer, they are not inaccessible. Many products on the market address disk devices directly instead of through the file system. These products, called disk editors or sector editors, enable advanced users to manipulate the data in a disk's boot sectors and FATs directly. You should know, however, that with these tools, you can easily and irreparably damage the data on a disk drive. In many cases, professionals use them in a last-ditch effort to recover the data on a drive that has already been damaged by an attempt to manually repair a FAT.



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