Linux can mount, read, and write to Window 95™'s VFAT partitions serveral ways. You can use the stock msdos filesystem support that has been included in all kernels greater than 1.0. However, using commands like:
litterbox~#: mount -t msdos /dev/hda1 /mnt
will only get you as far as filenames with the 8.3 standard. Yick! You have Windows 95™ so you can use those nifty long file names.
Some Linux users still run kernels that are ancient by Linux standards (1.2.xx). There is a module for this series of kernels so that you can read files that do not conform to the old 8.3 standard. If this is the situation you are in, FTP to ftp://mm-ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/multimedia/linux/xmsdos/ and pick up a copy of README before doing anything.
Kernels after 1.3.4x have internal VFAT support that you can compile in. These kernels allow safe read/writes to your VFAT partitions.
NOTE: A Word of Caution!: If you are running a later version of Windows 95™ or Windows 98™ (i.e., possibly one that ships on computers made after June 1996 as well as the P5-MMX series), please complete the following:
Check to see what version of Windows 95™ you are really running. To do this, open up a DOS box and type
Sample output is listed below:
C:\> ver /r Mircosoft Windows 95 [4.00.1034] (C) 1981-1996 Microsoft Corporation.
Note the minor revision number. If the number is GREATER than 950 you may be running a version of the FAT partition type known as FAT32. If that is the case, you can still use Linux and Windows 95™
However, just because you are running a newer version of Windows 95™ doesn't mean that you are running FAT32. Load fdisk and use the "display partition information" option to show if you are using FAT32.
If you are installing Linux onto a drive with FAT32, follow the same steps as you would for installing Linux onto a Windows 95™ system. However, because FIPS doesn't support FAT32--you'll be forced to use a commercial program called Partition Magic™.