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[SLUG] vfat partition mounted wrongly reported as file system full

I have a Dos fat16 partition mounted automatically at bootup
/dev/hda6 /mnt/windows vfat iocharset=iso8859-1,codepage=850,rw 0 0

I use this drive as a storage drive as the machine is dual boot Windows NT 4 (NTFS), and Mandrake 8.1 (EXT3) because fat is read-writeable from both OSes.

I have been using this fine for months, without problems.
Suddenly after upgrading a newer kernel from rpm kernel-2.4.8-34
old kernel was kernel-2.4.8-26
I reinstalled this kernel and have both to chose from at startup.
I started noticing that sometimes I would try and save a file to the drive or create a directory and it would say 
mkdir: cannot create directory `/mnt/windows/fotos': No space left on device

df -m gives me
/dev/hda6                 2094      1614       481  78% /mnt/windows
df -h
/dev/hda6             2.0G  1.6G  481M  78% /mnt/windows

If I run the mount command I get
/dev/hda6 on /mnt/windows type vfat (rw,iocharset=iso8859-1,codepage=850)

doing a umount /mnt/windows, and then mount /mnt/windows doesn't fix the problem.

I am wondering if there is a maximum amount of files that the file system driver can read on fat16 drives ?
I'm not sure how to do file count on the drive to see how many files I have.
How do you do this from the command-line ?
Nautilus reports 4331 items, totalling 1.4 GB
the default directory has 166 files 103.8MB

Any ideas ?