::File Allocation Table


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File Allocation Table (FAT) is a computer file system architecture and a family of industry-standard file systems utilizing it. The FAT file system is a legacy file system which is simple and robust.<ref name="Microsoft_2010_FAT" /> It offers good performance even in light-weight implementations, but cannot deliver the same performance, reliability and scalability as some modern file systems. It is, however, supported for compatibility reasons by nearly all currently developed operating systems for personal computers and many mobile devices and embedded systems, and thus is a well-suited format for data exchange between computers and devices of almost any type and age from 1981 up to the present.

Originally designed in 1977 for use on floppy disks, FAT was soon adapted and used almost universally on hard disks throughout the DOS and Windows 9x eras for two decades.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> As disk drives evolved, the capabilities of the file system have been extended accordingly, resulting in three major file system variants: FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32. The FAT standard has also been expanded in other ways while generally preserving backward compatibility with existing software.

With the introduction of more powerful computers and operating systems, as well as the development of more complex file systems for them, FAT is no longer the default file system for usage on Microsoft Windows computers.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Today, FAT file systems are still commonly found on floppy disks, USB sticks, flash and other solid-state memory cards and modules, and many portable and embedded devices. DCF implements FAT as the standard file system for digital cameras. FAT is also utilized in the boot stage of EFI-compliant computers.

File Allocation Table sections
Intro   Overview   [[File_Allocation_Table?section=_{{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}}Types_| {{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}}Types ]]   Extensions    Derivatives   [[File_Allocation_Table?section=_{{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}}Patents_| {{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}}Patents ]]   See also    Notes    References    External links   

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