File Systems

A file can be defined as the structure and the rules used to read, write and maintain information that is stored on a disk such as Hard drive, CDs and DVDs in an optional drive or in a flash drive. Any place where a PC stores data is the engage the use of some type of file system.

  1. Tracking allocated and Free space

2. Maintaining directories and file names

3. Tracking where each file is physically stored on the disk

There are majorly two types of file systems

  • FAT (File Allocated Table) File Systems
  • NTFS (New Technology File systems)

A File Allocation table (FAT) is a is a file system framework developed for hard drives that originally utilized 12 or 16 bits for each each cluster entry into the file allotment table. It is used by the operating system (OS) to oversee records on hard drives and other PC frameworks. It is often likewise found on in flash memory, digital cameras and portable devices. It is used to store file information and extend the life of a hard drive.

In FAT there are few versions FAT12/FAT16/FAT/32


A FAT12 file system contains 1.5 bytes per cluster within the file allocation table. The amount of data clusters is less than 4087 clusters. Usually only used for floppy disks.


FAT used for most older systems, used a 16-bit binary number to hold cluster numbers. A volume using FAT16 can hold a maximum of 65,526 clusters. FAT16 was used for hard disk volumes ranging in size from 16 MB to 2,048 MB.


The FAT32 boot sector uses a 32-bit field for the sector count, limiting the maximum FAT32 volume size to 2 tebibytes (approximately 2.2 terabytes) with a sector size of 512 bytes. The maximum FAT32 volume size is 16 TiB (approximately 17.6 TB) with a sector size of 4,096 bytes. Windows operating systems through Windows 10 only create new FAT32 volumes up to 32 GB in size, however. The maximum possible size for a file on a FAT32 volume is 4 GB minus 1 byte or 4,294,967,295–1 byte.

NTFS is the system first introduced by Microsoft in 1993 with the release of windows NT 3.1 NTFS is the primary file system used in Microsoft windows 10, windows 8, windows 7, windows vista, windows xp, windows 2000 and windows NT operating systems. NTFS is the Windows NT equivalent of the windows 95 file allocated table(FAT) and the OS/2 High performance File System(HPFS). However, NTFS offers a number of improvements over FAT and HPFS in terms of performance, extendibility, and security.

Main features of NTFS file system are as follow

  • It can support 2TB partition or volume
  • It is a recoverable file system
  • It uses a small cluster to perfectly manage disk space
  • NTFS partition allows users to share resources
  • NTFS uses a changeable log to track the record- oriented files

Some of the simple features of NTFS File system are

Naming conventions

  • File names can be up to 255 characters
  • File names can contain most characters except “/<*>|:
  • File names are not case sensitive



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