'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem

The NTFS diet sorted things out in more ways than one

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ON-CALL Friday's here again and so, therefore, is On-Call, our weekly dip into absurd tech support tales contributed by readers.

This week, meet “Rick” who kicked off his career supporting laptops running Windows 95 and tells us that “One day I had a call from a sales rep who said 'My new laptop computer needs to lose some weight, it's getting heavy.”

Getting heavy? In the age of Windows 95 laptops were rather less svelte than today's machines and could bulk up a bit with a double-height PCMCIA card inside, but there was no reason for them to get any heavier than they were when they left the factory.

The rep explained he couldn't save files so perhaps he was complaining that his disk was full. But he also complained the machine was heavy, along the way mentioning that his weight theory had been prompted by an error message. So Rick asked the user to read him the error and heard the following response:

Every time I open the Explorer it says C:/ FAT.

This is The Register so we'll assume you know that FAT is the File Allocation Table, a filesystem widely used until the early 2000s.

“Oh I see,” said Rick. “Yes, I see the confusion.”

“What can I do,” the rep asked. “The longer I walk around with it the heavier it gets.”

Rick kindly arranged a new laptop that was actually 0.5Kg lighter and ran Windows NT. The second part of the fix was to format its hard drive with the NTFS file system, a ploy that solved the problem.

“I had a very happy customer and one less Windows 95 machine,” Rick says, “so it was all good really.”

Have your users misinterpreted acronyms with amusing results? If so, write to me with your story and you, yes you, might just appear in next week's On-Call. ®


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