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file allocation table
Last modified: Thursday, November 13, 2003 

A table that the operating system uses to locate files on a disk. Due to fragmentation, a file may be divided into many sections that are scattered around the disk. The FAT keeps track of all these pieces.

In DOS systems, FATs are stored just after the boot sector.

The FAT system for older versions of Windows 95 is called FAT16, and the one for new versions of Windows 95 and Windows 98 is called FAT32.

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For internet.com pages about file allocation table . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Hard Disk Logical Structures and File Systems 
Describes "standard" file systems used on PCs, with particular focus on the FAT file system and its variants. This page is from "The PC Guide."

Understanding File System Options 
Whether you're looking for a refresher on files systems or want to learn the difference between FAT file systems vs. NTFS file systems, this tutorial explains the ins and outs, and pros and cons of each.

FAT File System Disk Volume Structures
Describes the disk volume structures used in the FAT file system. This page is from "The PC Guide."

FAT types and cluster sizes
This Microsoft Knowledge Base article discusses FAT types and cluster size and their relation to logical drive size, including information on double-spaced drives.

File Systems (FAT, HPFS, NTFS)
Contains brief technical descriptions of the FAT file system, VFAT, HPFS, and NTFS.

related categories

DOS

File Management

Object-Oriented Programming

related terms

cluster

disk

FAT12

FAT32

file

file management system

fragmentation

HLF

journaled file system

lost cluster

partition

slack space

VFAT


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