Operating Systems and their File Systems
There’s little question that Windows® NT was very successful for Microsoft through the 1990s, but as the software began to mature, a number of flaws began to surface. Aside from various bugs (all software products have them), these flaws included lack of support for the latest hardware and other limitations. From a file system standpoint, one of the more important flaws was the lack of support for FAT 32. Microsoft has addressed most of the early flaws and support issues through service packs, and third party software developers have provided FAT 32 support. During the development of Windows® 2000, Microsoft concentrated on all of the flaws of its soon-to-be predecessor, referring to this new operating system as Windows® NT 5.0. It wasn’t until shortly before its release that Microsoft instead called its new operating system Windows 2000.
As file systems go, Windows® 2000 builds upon Windows® NT 4.0 in most respects, differing from NT 4.0 in two ways. The first was the addition of support for FAT 32, a much needed change, especially with FAT 32 having replaced FAT 16 in most, if not all, new Windows® 9x/ME systems. The second was the enhancement of NTFS under Windows 2000 through the creation of version 5.0 of the NTFS file system. While Windows® 2000 still reads older NTFS partitions, it must be installed on an NTFS 5.0 partition as NTFS 5.0 is the Windows® 2000 preferred file system. There are some minor file handling differences between Windows 2000 and Windows XP, however there are few, if any, major file system differences. Of course, the purist will tend to dwell on the minutiae, or at the least what we consider minutiae to this discussion. We have tried to keep the discussion clear and distinct without delving into that minutiae.
For a more complete discussion of NTFS, see New Technology File System “NTFS”. If your interested in merely the NTFS version history, than go here.
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