I must confess here that I had to revise my wisdom of using FAT parttions. FAT partions cannot store a file bigger than 4 GiB and most of Linux distributions are over 4 GiB and now I use ntfs partition for storing files bigger than 4 GiB.
It is not like good old days my hard disks are at least 80 x 2=160 GiB (removed 20s and 40s) and I now go for SATA disks which come in 160, 320 and 500. I have two external hard disks one which bought for half the price (they are twice the price here unfortunately) in a kid’s store abroad with adequate space for my images and ntfs partitions.
But I still have small FAT partitions among various Linux partitions.
I reserve a FAT partition of Generous 20 MiB in my hard disk would be mystery for you since I do not install Microsoft even for testing now.
I will list few of the reasons.
1. Sometime back when (I was not testing live CDs then) I lay my hands on a new Linux distribution I try to install them and many had no methods to install and some had what is called persistent and try to install in a FAT partition.
Two of them come to my mind, one was Knoppix and the other was GoBo Linux. Now of course both of them can be installed into hard disk. Knoppix now installs on a reserfs pation and needs at least 1 GiB of SWAP partition and I give liberal 2GiB which is my minimum.
2.Since I had many distributions in my hard disk most of them run short of space in home partition and even writing an image was not possible. The Linux has the habit of collecting junk called history in tmp folders without automatic cleaning. So I used to take all my data files and place them in the FAT partition. External drives were expensive and I could not afford them. So FAT partition was the temporary shelter for my data till I write them to a CD or DVD.
3. Third reason was when I started downloading Linux Live images I use to shift them to a folder in the FAT partition when home folder is full. By doing this it is possible to remove most of the tmp files cluttering the Linux system (it is one of my beliefs and i may be wrong here). In any case it gives me breathing space.
4. When I do cleaning up job for my friends with rotten Microsoft hard disks removed from the computer and mounted on a external drive, it was easy for me to transfer the data file to my FAT partition after doing the cleaning up process for burning / cutting it to a CD or DVD. Then I give them the CD / DVD with data and freshly formatted disk and say I don’t install Microsoft any more and don’t come back again with Microsoft problems to me and virtually chase them away.
5. The latest is a very delicate issue. With data security paranoia most new Linux distributions let you encrypt your data (asks you whether you want to do that while installing) in home folder. This I did recently and took some photos of my dog and nephews and nieces and saved them. So after that I did testing Sinhala Linux and for some reason forgot about the whole issue. Then when I wanted to boot that image it had some problems with it’s boot file. I could not get those photos. I tried many methods and I could not open the encrypted photos.
This was where I had to sit back and work out a strategy to recover the encrypted data ( only six photos). This was a Live distribution and I tried to recover the files while Live CD was running but could not.
Then finally I reinstalled the distribution without formatting the home partition (this is the value of home partition) with the same password and booted it up and formatted a free Linux partition to FAT transferred the opened photos to FAT partition without encrypting. The job was done and I recovered the encrypted photos. I also copied the encrypted file to another home partition of my computer using some devious methods to see whether I could open that in a another Linux distribution.
I could not.
This was the longest period for me to solve a simple problem without using unencrypting software (which I am not interested and I am not in the habit of cracking passwords).
So do not be paranoid when encrypting your data. If you forget the password the data is as bad as in the dustbin or thrash.
I have to confess the longest period I spent was resurrecting an old Japanese Laptop with faulty CD/DVD ROM and no USB booting facility. It is working now and my friend use s it only for accessing internet and there in no more viruses or Microsoft traces in there.
It was fun for me to get rid of Microsoft but not for my dear friend.