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Formatting Disks

When you create one or more DOS partitions on a hard disk, you must format them before you can use them to store data. The disk itself is made up of physical units called sectors, each of which holds 512 bytes of data. The formatting process divides a partition into clusters (sometimes called allocation units), which are logical units that represent the smallest amount of disk space that can be allocated at one time. Each cluster consists of multiple sectors.

Choosing a File System

Windows Me, similar to Windows 98 and Windows 95 OSR2 before it, enables you to choose either of two file systems when formatting a partition or logical drive. FAT (also known as FAT16) is the original file system introduced with MS-DOS in the 1980s. FAT32, on the other hand, is an improved version of the FAT file system that enables you to create partitions larger than 2GB in size; it's also more efficient at storing files, as I'll explain shortly.


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