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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Logical Structures and File Systems ]

Operating Systems and File Systems

The operating system is the large, relatively complex, low-level piece of software that interfaces your hardware to the software applications you want to run. The operating system you use is closely related to the file system that manages your hard disk data. The reason is a simple one: different operating systems use different file systems. Some are designed specifically to work with more than one, for compatibility reasons; others work only with their own file system.

This section takes a brief look at the most common operating systems in use on the PC, provides a bit of their history as it relates to file systems, and mentions the file systems that they use. The operating systems are listed approximately in the chronological order of when they were first used for PC hardware (although not exactly, since I chose to keep the discussions of the consumer Windows 9x/ME operating systems near each other, as this seems a more clear way to describe them). Note that different "sub-versions" of a particular operating system (such as different variants of Windows 95) may provide support for different kinds of file systems (thanks to the strange way that Microsoft sometimes chooses to operate... :^) )

Next: DOS (MS-DOS, PC-DOS, etc.)


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