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A+ Preparing the Hard Disk for Installation, 7/Vista

There are three different file systems supported by Windows Vista/XP:

    • NTFS
    • FAT32
    • FAT16 (also known as FAT)

Which file system should you use for the operating system installation? Most of the time you will use NTFS, unless you want to install to a pre-existing FAT32 partition and do not want to lose data during the installation. The largest FAT32 partition that Windows can format during installation is 32GB; larger partitions must be formatted as NTFS. FAT16 is supported so that Windows can access other devices such as memory sticks or older hard drives, but chances are you won’t come across it very often.

Keep in mind that much of the data security of Windows comes from the use of NTFS. If NTFS is not used to prepare a drive, encryption and compression are not available, nor is user-level or group-level access control. Windows Vista and 7 can be installed only or NTFS drives.

When prompted, you have the option to use all the unpartitioned space on an empty hard disk for Windows or to use only a part of the space.

In Windows Vista/7:

    • To use all of the space in the disk, make sure that the disk and partition you want is highlighted and click Next
    • To use only part of the space, click Drive Options (Advanced), click New, specify the partition size, and click Apply
    • To use an existing partition, highlight the desired partition and click Next. Be careful; whatever partition you select for the installation will be formatted and all data on that partition will be erased.

You can also format partitions from here; they are automatically formatted as NTFS. In addition, you can extend pre-existing partitions to increase the size of the partition but without losing any data.



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