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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Logical Structures and File Systems | Operating Systems and File Systems ]

Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows ME

Microsoft took a lot of heat when it created Windows 95 OEM SR 2, because they decided not to sell that version of the operating system at retail. As hard disks got bigger and bigger, demand for FAT32 support increased. Unfortunately, as a "regular customer" of Microsoft's, you would have no way to get FAT32 support, unless you chose to buy new hardware or buy a copy that had been sold contrary to Microsoft's licensing rules. As a result, 1996 and 1997 were two years of confusion in the area of file system support on Microsoft operating systems. :^) This situation persisted until 1998, when Microsoft released the first version of Windows 98.

Windows 98, among other improvements to Windows 95 (and some subtractions, depending on your perspective) includes full support for FAT32, and was definitely sold at retail. :^) The operating system also provides the capability of converting an existing FAT16 partition to FAT32. This was the first Microsoft operating system to provide complete "official" support for FAT32. It also of course supports the older FAT variants.

In 1999, Microsoft released Windows 98 Second Edition ("Windows 98 SE"), which in this author's opinion was little more than a glorified bug patch that Microsoft was able to sell as a new product. In 2000 came Microsoft Millennium Edition ("Windows ME") which is another evolutionary tweak on the Windows 98 OSes. Neither of these new operating systems added any additional file system support (and as far as I am concerned, neither added anything of much substance in any way, though others would probably disagree with that...)

Next: Windows NT


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