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Operating System File Systems

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File Systems

The file system provides the environment for working with files and folders. Windows uses FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 and/or NTFS with NTFS almost always being the best choice. Linux also has a number of its own native file systems. The default file system for Linux used to be ext2, now it is typically ext3. MS-DOS used to be and Microsoft Windows continues to be the most popular operating system for 80386, 80486, and Pentium PCs. Because Linux started on 80386/80486 PCs, a connection between DOS/Windows and Linux has always existed. Typically, you start the Linux installation with some steps in DOS. Linux has maintained its connection to DOS/Windows in several ways:

 Linux supports the older MS-DOS file system called FAT (file allocation table), as well as the newer Windows VFAT (long filenames) and FAT32 file systems. From Linux, you can access MS-DOS and Windows files.

 Linux supports read-only access to the NTFS file system that is used in Windows XP. You can download and load a driver module to incorporate the NTFS support.

 Linux features a set of tools, called mtools,that manipulates DOS/Windows files from within Linux.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 provides two basic file system types; File Allocation Table (FAT) and NTFS file system (NTFS). Active Directory is directory service tool that connects the directories across the network and acts like a big phone book for all users. All versions of Windows Server 2003 except Windows Server 2003, Web Edition, include Active Directory as the directory service. Windows Server 2003 ensures higher reliability with new features such as Automated System Recovery (ASR), making it easier to recover your system, back up your files, and maintain maximum availability. (2004) Windows Server 2003 provides new and enhanced features, like remote document sharing, that improve connectivity within and across the organization.

All the file systems use directories and subdirectories. Windows separates directories with a back slash, Linux uses a normal forward slash. Windows file names are not case sensitive. Linux file names are. For example "abc" and "aBC" are different files in Linux, whereas in Windows it would refer to the same file. Particular attention must be paid to commands case sensitivity as well. Entering commands in a DOS/command window under any version of Windows, "dir" is the same as "DIR". In Linux "dir" is a different command than "DIR".

As explained by Michael Horowitz, (July 2006) Linux vs Windows,

"Windows and Linux use different concepts for their file hierarchy. Windows uses a volume-based file hierarchy, Linux uses a unified scheme. Windows uses letters of the alphabet to represent different devices and different hard disk partitions. Under Windows, you need to know what volume (C:, D:,...) a file resides on to select it, the file's physical location is part of it's name. In Linux all directories are attached to the root directory, which



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