Data Recovery Concept

File System (FAT)

The FAT file system is a simple file system originally designed for small disks and simple folder structures. The FAT file system is named for its method of organization, the File Allocation Table, which resides at the beginning of the volume. To protect the volume, two copies of the table are kept, in case one becomes damaged. In addition, the file allocation tables and the root folder must be stored in a fixed location so that the files needed to start the system can be correctly located.

A volume formatted with the FAT file system is allocated in clusters. The default cluster size is determined by the size of the volume. For the FAT file system, the cluster number must fit in 16 bits and must be a power of two.

 FAT file system volume organization

See the next sections for more information about FAT:

Main differences between FAT12, FAT16, FAT32

  • FAT12 file system contains 1.5 bytes per cluster within the file allocation table.
  • FAT16 file system contains 2 bytes per cluster within the file allocation table.
  • FAT32 file system includes 4 bytes per cluster within the file allocation table.
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