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In computing, a file system (or filesystem) is used to control how data is stored and retrieved. Without a file system, information placed in a storage area would be one large body of data with no way to tell where one piece of information stops and the next begins. By separating the data into individual pieces, and giving each piece a name, the information is easily separated and identified. Taking its name from the way paper-based information systems are named, each group of data is called a "file". The structure and logic rules used to manage the groups of information and their names is called a "file system".

There are many different kinds of file systems. Each one has different structure and logic, properties of speed, flexibility, security, size and more. Some file systems have been designed to be used for specific applications. For example, the ISO 9660 file system is designed specifically for optical discs.

File systems can be used on many different kinds of storage devices. Each storage device uses a different kind of media. The most common storage device in use today is a hard drive whose media is a disc that has been coated with a magnetic film. The film has ones and zeros 'written' on it sending electrical pulses to a magnetic "read-write" head. Other media that are used are magnetic tape, optical disc, and flash memory. In some cases, such as with tmpfs, the computer's main memory (RAM) is used to create a temporary file system for short-term use.

{{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}} Some file systems are used on local data storage devices;<ref name="ostep-1">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref> others provide file access via a network protocol (for example, NFS,<ref name="ostep-2">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref> SMB, or 9P clients). Some file systems are "virtual", in that the "files" supplied are computed on request (e.g. procfs) or are merely a mapping into a different file system used as a backing store. The file system manages access to both the content of files and the metadata about those files. It is responsible for arranging storage space; reliability, efficiency, and tuning with regard to the physical storage medium are important design considerations.


File system sections
Intro  Aspects of file systems  Types of file systems  File systems and operating systems  Limitations  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}}

In computing, a file system (or filesystem) is used to control how data is stored and retrieved. Without a file system, information placed in a storage area would be one large body of data with no way to tell where one piece of information stops and the next begins. By separating the data into individual pieces, and giving each piece a name, the information is easily separated and identified. Taking its name from the way paper-based information systems are named, each group of data is called a "file". The structure and logic rules used to manage the groups of information and their names is called a "file system".

There are many different kinds of file systems. Each one has different structure and logic, properties of speed, flexibility, security, size and more. Some file systems have been designed to be used for specific applications. For example, the ISO 9660 file system is designed specifically for optical discs.

File systems can be used on many different kinds of storage devices. Each storage device uses a different kind of media. The most common storage device in use today is a hard drive whose media is a disc that has been coated with a magnetic film. The film has ones and zeros 'written' on it sending electrical pulses to a magnetic "read-write" head. Other media that are used are magnetic tape, optical disc, and flash memory. In some cases, such as with tmpfs, the computer's main memory (RAM) is used to create a temporary file system for short-term use.

{{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}} Some file systems are used on local data storage devices;<ref name="ostep-1">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref> others provide file access via a network protocol (for example, NFS,<ref name="ostep-2">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=citation }}</ref> SMB, or 9P clients). Some file systems are "virtual", in that the "files" supplied are computed on request (e.g. procfs) or are merely a mapping into a different file system used as a backing store. The file system manages access to both the content of files and the metadata about those files. It is responsible for arranging storage space; reliability, efficiency, and tuning with regard to the physical storage medium are important design considerations.


File system sections
Intro  Aspects of file systems  Types of file systems  File systems and operating systems  Limitations  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Aspects of file systems
<<>>