FAT

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See also: Filesystems | VFAT

Acronym: File Allocation Table

An ancient non-journaling file system still used in many Windows machines. Notably, it is inefficient at handling small files. Its successor on Windows is NTFS, which includes journaling and per-file security attributes and very basic encryption.

There 3 types of FAT filesystems:

  • FAT12 - used in DOS floppies
  • FAT16 - for 16 bit systems, including Windows 3.1 and MS DOS 6.22
  • FAT32 - A 32-bit filesystem commonly used by the Windows 9x series of operating systems. It uses a lookup table to store filenames and file locations. Partitions can only be split into a table of so many files, which means that on large hard drives very small files can use up to 8,192 bytes each.

VFAT

Acronym: Virtual File Allocation Table

A hack (add-on) of the original FAT to include longer filenames in FAT12/16/32.

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