FAT32 is a new feature introduced by Microsoft to reduce wasted cluster space. You can find FAT 32 in the OSR2 version of Windows 95.
What is the difference between FAT16 & FAT32?
Inside every hard drive, there are clusters. The larger the partition, the bigger the cluster size. Many people resort to partition their hard drive into smaller partitions to reclaim wasted cluster disk space. FAT32 reduces the cluster size so you don't have to partition your hard drive to save disk space. The table below shows the difference:
260 MB - 8 GB
8 GB - 16 GB
16 GB - 32 GB
As you can see, the maximum partition size under FAT16 is only 2 GB while FAT32 supports up to 32GB. And also, the cluster size for a 2GB partition is 32 KB while a partition between 260 MB to 16 GB ( for home or personal use range ) 's cluster size is 4 KB, saving nearly 8 times less cluster space than a partition that is under FAT16.
Does that means that I will have FAT32 installed if I have OSR2?
Yes and no. It depends on how your OSR2 was installed. If installed from the setup disk ( included in your package ) then setup will format your hard drive leaving you with a FAT32 hard drive. But if OSR2 is installed from DOS or the earlier version of Windows 95, then you will be using the old FAT16.
I have a copy of OSR2. What is the most common way to convert my hard drive to support FAT32?
The most common way is to format the whole hard drive. Boot to command prompt and run setup from the OSR2 CD. Go along setup until you are prompted to make a boot disk. Insert an empty disk and label it OSR2 boot disk. Then, cancel setup. Now boot your PC from the boot disk. Format the hard drive from the boot disk using the format command. (Note: Do not use the /q switch as it will just erase all data. Use full format.) After your hard drive is formatted, it will support FAT32.
Is there any other way I can convert FAT16 to FAT32 without formatting my hard drive?
Yes, by using some third party software or utilities.
What are the utilities that can convert FAT16 to FAT32?
Microsoft has released one that is currently available at the Microsoft site. Powerquest also have developed one as part of Partition Magic. We believe there are also other FAT32 conversion utilities on the Internet written by shareware of freeware authors. Also, Windows 98 ships with a FAT32 converter.
Can I install OSR2 on a FAT16 partition/drive?
OSR2 does not need FAT32 to be installed. OSR2 will run happily on any FAT16 partition / drive.