Format a Drive

As I mentioned, you still need to take one more step before you can actually use your new disk space. In order to store (and more importantly keep track of) files, the partitions must be formatted with a file system. File systems represent the "rules and regulations" that the OS uses for storing and retrieving information on a logical drive.

A file system works much like the table of contents in the book you're holding right now. The file system helps the OS keep track of what's stored where, and it helps locate information quickly. It sounds simple enough, but the underlying technology really isn't.

Microsoft's Holy Grail: The Windows File System

Bill Gates's self-described "Holy Grail" is the Windows File System. WinFS promises a quantum change in the way you manage and access files and folders. The hope is that, for example, you will not only be able to look for pictures on your computer by searching for the name of the picture, but also the name of the people in a picture. WinFS also could let you search for all documents, emails, contacts, and Web pages related to Chapter 4 of the book you're currently writing, instead of trying to keep straight which applications have what information and having to keep separate folders for each. It was originally scheduled for release with Longhorn, Microsoft's next Windows iteration, but it has since been pushed back because implementation obstacles still exist. So now you know what the next big innovation will be. Microsoft is not trying to improve the next Start Menu so much as the next file system.

To format a partition, right-click on the partition space in the Disk Management Tool and choose Format. A dialog box asks you which file system to use (see Figure 4-5).

Figure 4-5. Formatting prepares the partition for storage.

Note that Disk Management won't let you reformat the system or boot partitionsto do so would be OS self-immolation, and XP won't let it happen. At any rate, you're now faced with a choice between file systems. The next chunks should help with your decision.

Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
ISBN: 013167983X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 275
Authors: Brian Culp © 2008-2017.
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