FILE ALLOCATION TABLE
\fˈa͡ɪl ˌaləkˈe͡ɪʃən tˈe͡ɪbə͡l], \fˈaɪl ˌaləkˈeɪʃən tˈeɪbəl], \f_ˈaɪ_l ˌa_l_ə_k_ˈeɪ_ʃ_ə_n t_ˈeɪ_b_əl]\
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By Princeton University
(FAT) The component of an MS-DOS or Windows95 file system which describes the files, directories,and free space on a hard disk or floppy disk.A disk is divided into partitions. Under the FAT filesystem each partition is divided into clusters, each ofwhich can be one or more sectors, depending on the size ofthe partition. Each cluster is either allocated to a file ordirectory or it is free (unused). A directory lists the name,size, modification time and starting cluster of each file orsubdirectory it contains.At the start of the partition is a table (the FAT) with oneentry for each cluster. Each entry gives the number of thenext cluster in the same file or a special value for "notallocated" or a special value for "this is the last cluster inthe chain". The first few clusters after the FAT contain theroot directory.The FAT file system was originally created for the CP/M[?]operating system where files were catalogued using 8-bitaddressing. MS DOS's FAT allows only 8.3 filenames.With the introduction of MS-DOS 4 an incompatible 16-bit FAT(FAT16) with 32-kilobyte clusters was introduced thatallowed partitions of up to 2 gigabytes.Microsoft later created FAT32 to support partitions largerthan two gigabytes and pathnames greater that 256characters. It also allows more efficient use of disk spacesince clusters are four kilobytes rather than 32 kilobytes.FAT32 was first available in OEM Service Release 2 ofWindows 95 in 1996. It is not fully backward compatiblewith the 16-bit and 8-bit FATs.IDG article(http://idg.net/idgframes/english/content.cgi?vc=docid_9-62525.html). (http://home.c2i.net/tkjoerne/os/fat.htm). (http://teleport.com/~brainy/). (http://22.214.171.124/hardware/fatgen.htm). (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q154/9/97.asp).Compare: NTFS.[How big is a FAT? Is the term used outside MS DOS? How longis a FAT16 filename?]
By Denis Howe
Word of the day
- Syn. : inferior vertebral arteries. In embryo, two branches given off from cardiac aorta, which pass through first visceral and unite to form the dorsal aorta.