Tech Tips / Windows 2000 Professional / Installation and Configuration

Create FAT partitions at setup

When you install Windows 2000, you have the option of creating and formatting a partition. Setup gives you two options for formatting the volume: FAT or NTFS. If you select FAT, Setup doesn't give you the option of deciding whether to use the FAT16 or FAT32 file system. Instead, Setup chooses a file system based on the disk's geometry. If the partition is smaller than 2 GB, Setup formats the volume using the FAT16 file system. Partitions over 2 GB are formatted using FAT32.

While you can't control the type of FAT partition created by Setup, you can, if need be, format the disk outside of Setup and use the desired format. If the partition already exists and you need to convert it, consider one of the commercially available partition managers such as Power Quest's PartitionMagic or Quarterdeck's Partition-It.

There are a handful of limitations to using FAT32 in Windows 2000. You can find a description of these limitations in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q184006, "Limitations of FAT32 File System with Windows 2000."

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