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[ The PC Guide | Procedure Guide | Identification Procedures ]

File System Identification Procedure

This procedure is used to determine if a disk volume on your system is using the conventional FAT16 or the newer FAT32 file system on your Windows 95 OSR2 system. This is important when deciding what sort of utility software to purchase (since some of it is not compatible with FAT32), when considering setting up a multiple operating system configuration, or when troubleshooting. There are two different ways to do this simply, both of which are described here.

Procedure Overview:

  • Difficulty Level: 1 (Very low).
  • Risk Factor: 1 (Very low).
  • Hardware Required: None.
  • Software Required: None.
  • Time to Perform: Less than five minutes.
  • Preparation / Warnings:
    1. If you are not running the OSR2 version of Windows 95, then you don't need to do this procedure, because all your partitions will be (should be) FAT16. If you aren't sure which version you are running, try this procedure.
    2. Do not use this procedure on mapped network drives, CD-ROMs, etc.
    3. If you use CHKDSK, do not run with the /F option.

Windows Explorer Method - Procedure Steps:

  1. Open Windows Explorer: Open an instance of Windows Explorer if one is not open already.
  2. Open Disk Volume Properties: In the left-hand window, find the icon corresponding to the disk volume you want to check (remember that a system can have both FAT16 and FAT32 partitions). Right-click on this icon and then select "Properties" from the bottom of the menu.
  3. Examine the Volume Type: In the box that opens, near the top, you will see "Type:". To the right of it, you will see one of the following:
    • "Local Disk": This means that you are not running Windows 95 OSR2. The volume is FAT16.
    • "Local Disk (FAT)": You are running Windows 95 OSR2 and the volume is FAT16.
    • "Local Disk (FAT32)": You are running Windows 95 OSR2 and the volume is FAT32.
  4. Exit Properties: Hit the "Cancel" button to exit the disk properties window.

CHKDSK (DOS) - Procedure Steps:

  1. Get to an MS-DOS Prompt: Either open an MS-DOS prompt or shut Windows down to MS-DOS mode.
  2. Run CHKDSK: At the DOS prompt, type "chkdsk N:", where "N" is the drive letter you want to examine, and then {Enter}. The system will scan the hard disk for information and produce output to the screen.
  3. Examine Output: You will see several lines on the screen. If you see "4,096 bytes in each allocation unit" and a number greater than 65,526 for "total allocation units on disk", the volume is FAT32. Otherwise the volume is FAT. Note that some disk utilities can allow strange combinations of cluster size and volume size to be created, but under normal circumstances this is accurate.

Next: Software Procedures

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