FAT32 is an acronym for File Allocation Table, and the 32 stands for the bit version (there are also FAT12, used for floppy disks, and FAT16, that was the original FAT released with Windows).

It has been around since 1996 with the release of Windows 95 OSR2, the advantage to that is that alot of operating systems have support for it.

These include all the current Windows operating systems as well as a number of the MacOS's

There are several limiting factors to FAT32, namely:
* Limited to 8.3 filenames (unless you setup LFN)
* Must begin with a letter or number
* Can't contain spaces
* Not case sensitive
* Limited to 4 GB partition size


Created to make up for what was lacking in FAT. That certainly explains the the acronym New Technology File System. Only NT kernel operating systems (Windows NT, 2000, XP) can access a drive that is using NTFS. So if you are running multiple operating systems on the same computer you should probably just go with FAT32 for formating the hard drive. This allows all operating systems to see the entire hard drive.

Interestingly enough Windows 2000 and XP format programs can only create FAT32 filesystems up to 32 GB.

For more information on the specifics of about NTFS read Microsofts own article here.

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