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Windows XP Pro: The Missing Manual, Second Edition by L.J. Zacker, Craig Zacker, David Pogue

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Choosing a File System

There’s one final decision you have to make: which file system you want to use for formatting your hard drive.

A file system is a scheme of formatting your hard drive, a system of dividing up its surface into little parking spaces for data. It’s a very technical issue, and, mercifully, one that’s largely invisible to you except for the day you install the operating system.

Windows XP offers a choice of two file systems, geekily named FAT 32 and . FAT 32 (file allocation table) is the descendant of the original DOS formatting scheme. NTFS (NT file system) is far more advanced and modern; it was introduced with Windows NT in 1993.

NTFS offers a long list of attractive features:

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