32bit OS

what is meant by 32bit operating syatem and how it is different from 16bit operating system, similarely what is difference in FAT32 and FAT16 ?
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mj_coleConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The number of bits in an operating system does not determine it's speed, this is a common misconception.

The number of bits determines the size of the address and data busses and hence the complexity of the operation per clock cycle. While generally increasing the number of bits that an operating system uses should increase the speed, this is not fundamentally the case, it all depends on the programming of that OS.

As for the FAT / FAT32, I think the answers above do that justice, FAT (File Allocation Table) addresses 2^16 (65536) segments of disk, ie if each segment is 1kbyte, the FAT can access 64Mb (65536 k  bytes).

FAT 32 addresses 2^32 segments (about 4 million) each segment has to be at least 4kb (a design parameter by the writers of FAT 32 [microsoft I think]) Hence FAT32 allows for huge disks, plenty for present home users, corperations tend to require much larger space and more security than the home user, and would tend to use something like NTFS which has security built in.

A 32 bit operating system is something like NT4, Windows 98/95. A 16 bit OS is Windows 3.1.

A 32 bit OS can run (generally) 16 programs, a 16 bit OS cannot run 32 bit programs.

A 32 bit OS runs faster as data transfer is higher. As for more detail, someone else can answer that.

64 bit technology is the way forward with IA-64 and the new Itanium chip.

FAT16 (File Allocation Table) is the old DOS way of organising the data on a disk and can only contain partitions of 2GB for Windows 95/98 and 4GB on Windows NT.

FAT32 is next step on from FAT16 and can support partitions of ~4 terabytes (not sure about that, but close to the mark) aswell as storing data more efficently and increasing the disk access time compared to FAT16.

FAT32 came into being from Windows 95 OSR2 and above.

The third main file system is NTFS, used by Windows NT (and NTFS2 now in Windows 2000).

All DOS versions and Windows 95 'pre OSR2' can only read FAT16.

Windows 95 OSR2 and above and Windows 98 can read both FAT16 and FAT32 (not NTFS).

Windows NT can only read FAT16 and NTFS (not FAT32).

There are add-on programs that can be used to read NTFS from Windows 98, but I have never used them(www.sysinternals.com I think is a website for such a tool).

The fact that Windows 98 and NT common file allocation table is FAT16 is an important fact with dual boot, as both OS must be able to read the primary active partition.

Windows2000 can read FAT16, FAT32, NTFS and NTFS2.
DOS was a 16-bit OS.  The major characteristics include smaller disk support, and 8.3 file naming architecture, and a single-tasking environment.  Because Win 1, 2, and 3.x were actually programs running inside of DOS, they were also limited by DOS's functionality.

WIndows NT is the first 32-bit Microsoft OS.  (Windows 95/98 are actually a poor compilation of DOS and NT.)  In fact, NT means New Technology!  Some of the characteristics include larger disk support (up to 32 terabytes), 256 character naming convention, and a multi-tasking environment.

Unix and Linus (there are others) are actual 64-bit OSes.  These OSes are extremely fast and realiable because of the true multi-tasking and separation between the applications and the core or kernel of the OS.

The most important thing to remember between the different x-bit OSes is that the 16 and 64-bit OSes are not as functionally bound to the system's hardware.  For instance, DOS and Unix runs as well on a 386 as it does on a PIII.  Don't even try to run NT on anything less than a PI or you will have horrific problems.  The 320-bit OSes are more functionally dependent upon the hardware and are thereby hardware-limited.

Hope this helps...
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What's the difference between 8, 16, or 32-bits?
These numbers simply refer to the number of "letters" in the "words" being "spoken" by the software and interpreted by the computers. Higher "bit-capability" (32-bit vs 16-bit) usually means both faster transmission of instructions, and also more complex instructions (ie. excavate versus dig). Early personal computers assembled bits into sets of eight, and hence were known as "8-bit" systems, which provided a great starting place for the development of operating systems and applications software. But even in the early days, the need for richer, higher bit-count words was evident. Hardware and software developers alike began working diligently on advancing their own part of the technology.
Fat 16 vs Fat 32

As hard drives got larger and larger, the inefficiencies of the existing 16-bit File Allocation Table (FAT16) file system quickly became apparent. Since FAT16 stores files in clusters, and the file system couldn't handle more than 65,536 clusters, the only way to keep pace with the larger disks was to grow the size of each cluster. For example, a two gigabyte hard drive uses 32K clusters meaning that all files are stored in 32 kilobyte chunks. A one byte file would use up the same 32 kilobytes that a 30 kilobyte file requires. A 33 kilobyte file would occupy 64 kilobytes of disk space.

I think that between us that has answered the question (I was never upto speed on the whole OS 16/32/64 bit thing so I never entered it as an answer).

Did you know that originally NT stood for Northern Telecom, then Microsoft renamed it. Pointless bit of useless information that.
Another minor point...how did the 3 of us answer the question before he asked it?

(check the times of submission)

I know this is outside the scope of the question, so don't reply to this comment, just look, think about it for a second and smile about it.
sawantpAuthor Commented:
Dear marts! u said that generally increasing the number of bits that an operating system uses should not fundamentaly increase the speed, in fact it all depends on the programming of that OS then what is the significance of the no. of bits associated with os? please elaborate!!

sawantpAuthor Commented:
Dear marts! u said that generally increasing the number of bits that an operating system uses should not fundamentaly increase the speed, in fact it all depends on the programming of that OS then what is the significance of the no. of bits associated with os? please elaborate!!

OK, the number if bits determines the maximum potential complexity of each opperation that can be performed and over the range of memory that can be addressed.

The address and power areas of a system are very often confused, easily done, as hardware tends to have different numbers of bits controlling them. Very often a computer can address twice the address bits compared to data bits.

The reason potential power is increased by bits is that a 16 bit data is larger than a 8 bit data, and CAN hold more information. Also this will depend on the actual number of instructions the hardware can do at the lowest level, but that has more complexities again and goes beyond this disscussion.

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