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Installing Windows  «Prev  Next»
Lesson 5Selecting a file system
Objective Determine when to use NTFS/ FAT
How do I determine when to use NTFS or FAT during setup? After you create the partition on which you will install Windows 2000, Setup allows you to select the file system with which to format the partition. Windows 2000 supports the NTFS, FAT (technically known as FAT16), and FAT32 file systems.
The following MouseOver summarizes when each system is most appropriate.
NTFS file system FAT file system
Select file
Select file

NTFS


File System during Setup

NTFS


Use NTFS for partitions that require the elements shown in the following illustration:
NTFS file system
Windows 2000 and Windows NT are the only operating systems that can access data on a local hard disk that is formatted with NTFS.
You must take care when you choose to dual boot Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. Windows 2000 will upgrade existing NTFS partitions automatically to NTFS 5.0. If you have Windows NT 4.0 installed on the same computer in a dual-boot configuration, it will not be able to read NTFS 5.0 partitions, and if the boot partition for the Windows NT 4.0 installation is on an NTFS partition, you will not be able to start Windows NT 4.0. You can prevent this by installing Service Pack 4 or above in the Windows NT 4.0 installation before installing Windows 2000.

FAT and FAT32

Normally, you would not format the partition on which Windows 2000 resides with FAT or FAT32 unless you require a dual-boot configuration, as illustrated in the image below.
When to use FAT


What is a dual-boot configuration?

A dual-boot configuration allows you to choose between two or more operating systems each time you restart the computer. When the operating system starts, a display appears for a specified number of seconds, allowing you to select between the operating systems.
Windows 2000 is a great boon to users who wish to dual boot machines that have Windows 95 or Windows 98 installed and have the primary active partition formatted as FAT32.
Windows NT 4.0 does not support FAT32 and cannot be dual booted with operating systems that have the primary active partition formatted as FAT32.
However, FAT and FAT32 do not offer the security features that NTFS provides.

If files are on an NTFS partition, security can be set for those files so that only a specific user can access them, and no one else.
If those files are on a FAT or FAT32 partition, you cannot secure those files locally (that is, you cannot restrict someone who is actually sitting at that computer from accessing them).
The Windows 2000 Setup program does not support partitions larger than 2 GB.
If you attempt to format a partition larger than 2 GB with FAT, Setup automatically formats the partition with FAT32.
In the next lesson, licensing mode selection will be discussed.