If you want to use one of the FAT-based file systems (the MS-DOS and VFAT (Windows 95) file systems), then you must say Y or M here to include FAT support. You will then be able to mount partitions or diskettes with FAT-based file systems and transparently access the files on them, i.e. MSDOS files will look and behave just like all other Unix files. This FAT support is not a file system in itself, it only provides the foundation for the other file systems. You will have to say Y or M to at least one of "MSDOS fs support" or "VFAT fs support" in order to make use of it. Another way to read and write MSDOS floppies and hard drive partitions from within Linux (but not transparently) is with the mtools ("man mtools") program suite. You don't need to say Y here in order to do that. If you need to move large files on floppies between a DOS and a Linux box, say Y here, mount the floppy under Linux with an MSDOS file system and use GNU tar's M option. GNU tar is a program available for Unix and DOS ("man tar" or "info tar"). The FAT support will enlarge your kernel by about 37 KB. If unsure, say Y. To compile this as a module, choose M here: the module will be called fat. Note that if you compile the FAT support as a module, you cannot compile any of the FAT-based file systems into the kernel -- they will have to be modules as well.
This allows you to mount MSDOS partitions of your hard drive (unless they are compressed; to access compressed MSDOS partitions under Linux, you can either use the DOS emulator DOSEMU, described in the DOSEMU-HOWTO, available from <http://www.tldp.org/docs.html#howto>, or try dmsdosfs in <ftp://ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/system/filesystems/dosfs/>. If you intend to use dosemu with a non-compressed MSDOS partition, say Y here) and MSDOS floppies. This means that file access becomes transparent, i.e. the MSDOS files look and behave just like all other Unix files. If you have Windows 95 or Windows NT installed on your MSDOS partitions, you should use the VFAT file system (say Y to "VFAT fs support" below), or you will not be able to see the long filenames generated by Windows 95 / Windows NT. This option will enlarge your kernel by about 7 KB. If unsure, answer Y. This will only work if you said Y to "DOS FAT fs support" as well. To compile this as a module, choose M here: the module will be called msdos.
This option provides support for normal Windows file systems with long filenames. That includes non-compressed FAT-based file systems used by Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, and the Unix programs from the mtools package. The VFAT support enlarges your kernel by about 10 KB and it only works if you said Y to the "DOS FAT fs support" above. Please read the file <file:Documentation/filesystems/vfat.txt> for details. If unsure, say Y. To compile this as a module, choose M here: the module will be called vfat.
This option should be set to the codepage of your FAT filesystems. It can be overridden with the "codepage" mount option. See <file:Documentation/filesystems/vfat.txt> for more information.
Set this to the default input/output character set you'd like FAT to use. It should probably match the character set that most of your FAT filesystems use, and can be overridden with the "iocharset" mount option for FAT filesystems. Note that "utf8" is not recommended for FAT filesystems. If unsure, you shouldn't set "utf8" here. See <file:Documentation/filesystems/vfat.txt> for more information. Enable any character sets you need in File Systems/Native Language Support.