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PC File Systems
As I described in the introduction to this part of The PC Guide's hard disk coverage, the file system refers to structures and software used to organize and manage your data and programs on your hard disk. Most people are familiar with only the most common file system family (FAT and its variants) which are used on most PC-platform machines. These common file systems are the ones that get most of the attention, while others are largely ignored; I have been guilty of this myself on this site. However, there are in fact many different types of file systems in use by different operating systems for PC hardware. Many PC users actually employ more than one type of file system, to handle different tasks.
In this section I provide an overview of most of the various file systems that are commonly (or even less commonly) used on PC hardware. This includes a look a look at the various types of FAT file systems, as well the NTFS file systems used by Windows NT and Windows 2000. I also discuss several less common file systems: HPFS, UNIX file systems and the BeOS File System.
Note: In this section I only
provide a brief overview of the major characteristics of each file system. The remainder
of the subsections in the Hard Disk Logical Structures and File
Systems section expand on the details of the FAT family of file systems, and there is
also a separate section with details on NTFS. For the less
common file systems, coverage is mostly limited to the appropriate page in this subsection
of the site.