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Chapter 14. Maintaining Your Computer > Understanding Disk File Systems

Understanding Disk File Systems

A disk must be formatted with a file system that allows it to work with the operating system to store, manage, and access data. Two of the most common file systems are FAT (or FAT32, which is an improvement on FAT technology) and NTFS. Disks on DOS, Windows 3.1, or Windows 98/Me computers use the FAT file system, while disks on computers running Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP and later can use either the NTFS or FAT system. NTFS is a newer file system that improves on some of the shortcomings of FAT disks that make them less desirable on a network. Which file system your disks are most likely to use and why depends on the type of disk, whether your computer is on a network, and your computer's role as a resource on the network.

There are important differences between FAT and NTFS file systems:


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