Fat 32

My laptop is an old IBM, will going to FAT32, increase its usability, or do I go out and get new hard drive. Windows is using most of my c drive. Suggestions Please.

FAT 32 isn’t goign to increase your hardrive size. It will improve performance and give you some new features.

But if it’s hardrive space you need you’ll have to get a new hard drive.

That’s not exactly accurate, depending on how big your hard drive is currently.

Fat 32 has considerably smaller cluster sizes than Fat 16- IIRC, a partition above 2 gigs has a 32k cluster size under Fat 16, while the same size partition would have a 4k cluster size. Converting to Fat 32 could conceivably free up a large amount of disk space depending on the size of files on the hard drive.

In case anyone’s confused, the cluster size is the smallest allocatable unit on the file system- i.e. 32k for a big Fat 16 drive. In other words, even if it’s a 400 byte file, Windows will save it in its own 32k cluster, wasting more than 31k of that space. Having smaller cluster sizes allows for more efficient use of the drive space.

Depending which version of Windows you’re running, there may be a lot of temp files and other miscellaneous crap hanging around. In Windows XP, right click your C: drive and select “Properties” - there should be a “Disk Cleanup” option.

Very true. A few years ago I had a machine with a 4 gig drive and was down to about 500 meg free.

I converted the drive from FAT16 to FAT32 and my free space ** increased by nearly 1.5 gig**.

Admittedly I’m probably on the extreme end of the curve in this situation. The machine was used for software development, and had loaded on it several copies of the full source and development libs for several different software products that we produce. Since even small programs can create hundreds of files each, with the various copies I had installed it amount to somewhere around 40,000 files. Most of these files were 2k or less in size, and so wasted up to 30k of disk space each.

As bump noted, going to FAT32 reduced the cluster size from 32k to 4k. And in my case (admittedly extreme), this reduced the amount of wasted space per file from an average of around 30k to around 2k. And that amounted to nearly a third of my total drive space.

So it will almost certainly make a difference. How much difference? A quick and dirty way to estimate is this: On average, every file in the partition wastes one half of one cluster.

So if you reduce the cluster size from 32k to 4k, your average space saving should be the difference between one half of 32k and one half of 4k, which is 14k, multiplied by the total number of files in that partition.

So if you have 10,000 files, and you reduce from 32k clusters to 4k, you should see around 140 meg extra space appear. Not a huge amount, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, especially on an older, smaller drive.