Manage the XP File Systems

As mentioned, the file system helps the OS interact with fixed storage media. It achieves this by dividing the space on a logical "slice" of physical media into "storage containers." The file system then assigns numbers to these containers and keeps track of which containers store a given file. It also determines how large the containers are and keeps track of which containers are free.

Windows XP supports three types of file systems for hard drives: FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS. (It also supports FAT12 and CDFS for floppies and CD-ROMs, respectively, but we won't cover these here because you don't have to manage these file systems.) Each logical drive needs to be formatted with one of these three file systems before use.

What's a Drive Letter, Anyway?

Glad you asked. Every primary partition, logical drive of an extended partition, volume on a dynamic disk, and removable disk (such as floppies, CD-ROMs, tape devices, and so on) is assigned a drive letter by default. The drive letters help XP know what file system drivers to "call" when a program requests data from a given location. On typical store-bought, preinstalled computers, the floppy drive is "A," the hard disk is "C," and the CD-ROM is "D."

For example, say you've got an mp3 file in a folder on the C:\ drive, which has been formatted with NTFS. You tell Windows Media Player to play this file. Windows then says to itself, "All right, now. WMP is asking for data from C:\, so I need to go get the NTFS file system drivers to retrieve that file.

The file system you choose will depend on how you intend to use the drive, and your choice will have significant implications for the technologies available for the logical drive. Each file system merits a chunk's worth of explanation.

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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