The file system (disk format) that the NT family of Windows, such as NT4, 2k or XP, uses is "
NTFS", which is much more stable than the ones used by Windows 9x and ME, (FAT and FAT32.) NTFS also has many other features lacking in FAT and FAT32, such as the ability to store larger files, have larger partitions, file compression and security features. It is also a "Journaling" file system, which means it tracks changes made, which makes file corruption (such as you might get from a crash or a power outage) much less likely.

If you are running Windows 2000 or XP, you really want to have it on NTFS. However, to run games under these Operating Systems even with VDMSound, a FAT32 partition will be very useful, because some games such as "Icebreaker" have problems running from an NTFS partition. Having a FAT32 partition is a prerequisite for these games to work under Windows XP, but you do not need to boot Windows XP from the FAT32 partition, you only need to store the game files there.

Also, some games will not run correctly under Windows XP or any other NT-based version of Windows, (i.e. NT 4.0 or 2000) even with FAT32. This is not related to the file system, but about the way each game tries to control the hardware and the CPU. For these games, the ability to boot to MS-DOS or Windows 9x, (using a pure DOS bootdisk or having a dual-boot configuration with Windows 9x) may be the only option.

On a WinXP System with an NTFS partition you will need to have a FAT32 partition, if you want to have a functioning hard drive from DOS. When you boot with a DOS bootdisk, the FAT or FAT32 partitions will be seen, but the NTFS ones will not be recognized.


  • If you do a dual boot with Windows 9x, keep in mind that Windows 9x requires to be installed on the first partition (C:) formatted with FAT or FAT32. Put Windows XP on another partition formatted with NTFS.
  • If you want to boot your machine from a DOS floppy you will need a primary partition formatted as FAT or FAT32. If you use FAT32 you will need a boot disk with MS-DOS 7 or higher from Windows 95OSR2, 98 or Me, because MS-DOS 6.22 only supports FAT partitions, not FAT32.
  • Windows Me has MS-DOS 8.0,which is a hybrid DOS, they added elements from Windows NT, but attempted to maintain compatibility. This came at the cost of stability. Additionally, it was the first consumer OS where Microsoft deliberately "blocked" the consumer's access to DOS. If you're dealing with DOS titles, ME's DOS is not recommended. Win95B/Win98/Win98SE are more stable and made with DOS in mind. Use 98's DOS over ME's.
  • Using DOS with modern hardware can be a bit of a pain. If you boot MS-DOS you may not have all the necessary drivers for your sound card. A lot of modern cards don't have DOS drivers, so depending on your card you may end up with no sound in your games. That's the advantage of using VDMSound under Windows XP: it emulates SoundBlaster, AdLib and MPU-401 for DOS programs, regardless of the actual card you have.
  • You can search
    to see which games are known to work or have problems under Windows XP and plan how much effort you intend to put into your installation (dual boot, DOS boot disk, etc.)


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