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Article ID: 253774 - Last Review: January 27, 2007 - Revision: 2.2

This article was previously published under Q253774

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SUMMARY

This article contains common questions and answers about the FAT32 file system in Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2), Windows 98, and Windows Millennium Edition (Me). If your specific question is not addressed in this article, see the "Search the Microsoft Knowledge Base" section at the end of this article.

MORE INFORMATION

  1. Q. I have a 6.4 gigabyte (GB) hard disk and it has three partitions. How do I convert the disk into one FAT32 partition?

    A. To combine multiple partitions into a single partition on a hard disk, use Fdisk to delete all existing partitions and logical drives, create a new primary partition, and then make it active. You can also partition a hard disk so that it has one or more logical drives in addition to the primary partition. If you delete a disk partition by using Fdisk, all the data in that partition is permanently destroyed.
    For specific information about how to prepare your hard disk for Windows 98 reinstallation after you back up your data, please see the "Preparing the Hard Disk for Windows 98 installation" section of the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    221829  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/221829/ ) How to install Windows 98 on a computer with no operating system

    NOTE: Fdisk cannot combine, split, or resize existing partitions. Microsoft does not support 3rd-party tools that offer partition merging.
  2. Q. If I use Fdisk, do I lose MS-DOS too?

    A. You can use Fdisk to view your partitions, and nothing is erased. However, after you run Fdisk if you choose to create a new partition, everything on the partition is erased. Before you run the Fdisk utility to create a new parition, make sure that you have all of your important data backed up and that you have a working Emergency Boot Disk (EBD) and real-mode drivers for your CD-ROM drive. If you are not sure if you have or need real mode CD-ROM drivers, check with your hardware manufacturer before you proceed. The Windows 95 and Windows 98 EBD has MS-DOS system files that after using the Sys command, transfers the system files to your hard disk so that you can begin installing or reinstalling Windows.

    To create an EBD, insert a floppy disk into the floppy disk drive, and then follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
    2. Double-click Add/Remove Software, click the Startup Disk tab, and then click Create Disk.
  3. Q. If I convert to FAT32, can I convert back to FAT16?

    A. Windows does not include a utility for converting a drive back to FAT16 once you have converted it to FAT32.
  4. Q. How does FAT32 handle formatting my floppy disks?

    A. Floppy disks are formatted as FAT12, even if you have formatted your hard disk to FAT32. The utility, Format.com is prohibited from making a FAT32 file system on a floppy disk. Since FAT16 and FAT32 are compatible, either file system is capable of reading the data from the floppy disk.
  5. Q. If I have one physical drive, can I have two partitions, one FAT32 and one FAT16?

    A. Yes, after you run the Fdisk utility, choose Yes, when you are prompted for large disk support, create the partition, and then Exit. Then, run the Fdisk tool again, choose No when you are prompted for large disk support, create the parition, and then Exit.
  6. Q. FAT32 sounds great, but how do I make older programs work on the new file system?

    A. Although most programs are not affected by the conversion from FAT16 to FAT32, some disk tools that depend on FAT16 do not work with FAT32 drives. You receive an error message if you try to run one of these tools. Contact your disk tool manufacturer to see if there is an updated version that is compatible with FAT32.
  7. Q. I have Windows 95A, and I want FAT32. How do I acquire the Windows 950b version or OSR2 replacement CD-ROM to upgrade?

    A. A Windows 95 retail version cannot be upgraded to an OSR version. For more information, see the "Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Version Identification" section of the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    158238  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/158238/EN-US/ ) How to Determine the Version of Windows 95/98/Me in Use
    NOTE: Windows 98 includes FAT32 support.
  8. Q. I have a dual-boot computer, can I convert to FAT32?

    A. If you convert your hard drive to FAT32 using Drive Converter, you can no longer use dual boot to run earlier versions of Windows (Windows 95 version 4.00.950, Microsoft Windows NT 3.x, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, and Microsoft Windows 3.x). However, if you are on a network, earlier versions of Windows can still gain access to your FAT32 hard drive using the network.

    NOTE: Windows 2000 does include support for FAT32.
  9. Q. I would like to know how I tell if my drive is using FAT16 or FAT32?

    A. Double-click My Computer, right-click the drive letter you want to check, and then click Properties.
  10. Q. Can you use FAT32 and compression together?

    A. Most disk compression software is not compatible with FAT32. If your hard disk is compressed, you may not be able to convert it.

If you cannot find the question you have in this article, try one of the following:

Search the Microsoft Knowledge Base

Click the following link and search the Microsoft Knowledge Base using the following query words and keywords:
http://support.microsoft.com/search/ (http://support.microsoft.com/search/)
  • fat32 and file and system
  • kbtool and kberrmsg (if one or more of these words relate to your issue or question)
To more effectively search the Microsoft Knowledge Base, use keywords that relate to your issue when you search. For more information about how to more effectively search by using keywords, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
242450  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/242450/ ) How to query the Microsoft Knowledge Base using keywords

Description of FAT32

For a description of FAT32, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
154997  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/154997/EN-US/ ) Description of the FAT32 File System

APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95
Keywords: 
kbenv kbinfo kbui KB253774
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