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The Multi-Boot Configuration Handbook by Roderick Smith

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The Ubiquity of FAT

FAT is everywhere. Most OSs for x86 computers come with drivers for FAT, and these drivers usually support read/write access with a high degree of reliability. In fact, even non-x86 OSs, such as Mac OS and non-x86 UNIX variants, usually support FAT, if only for the capability to exchange files on floppy disks with users of DOS and its descendants.

It's not enough to leave the subject of FAT with the words "you can use it," however. Although those four words are almost certainly true, there are differences in how various OSs handle FAT. For example, some OSs support FAT-16 but not FAT-32. Others support 8.3 filenames but not VFAT long filenames. Other OSs make assumptions about their filesystems that FAT doesn't meet, so various ...

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