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Last Post by Gunasekhar

FAT = File Allocation Table

From school here's what I learned...it's not extremely thorough, but it is to the point.

FAT16 is old/obsolete. Users can only have make a 516MB disk space, it's extremely vulnerable, and file names can only be something like 8 characters long.

FAT32 is an updated version of FAT16. Here users can have a max of some where around 1GB of diskspace. It's still pretty vulnerable and users can have longer file names (I think).

NTFS = New Technology File System
This is one of the more modern types of file systems created by Windows. Though buggy and tempermental, it's more secure and whatnot. It can recognize any size hard drive (as long as the motherboard supports it) and can support extremely long file names.

Some helpful links:
Choosing FAT or NTFS
NTFS Information
File Systems
About FAT32


The main difference between them is cluster size they used.Cluster is a set/group of sectors.

FAT16 -->
It maintain a table(which is called file allacation table) where each entry is of 16 bits ,pointing one cluster.Therfore there is 2^16 entries in a table.Hence tot no.of cluster supported by FAT16 is 2^16(=65536).
If u use "fdisk" dos command to create a partition of FAT16,then each cluster size is 32KB and a sector size is 512 B.

Now , No.of sectors in 1 cluster=cluster size/sector size=32KB/512B
=64 sectors per cluster.

Then, Tot. partition size support=no. of cluster*each cluster size
=(2^16)*32KB=2.1GB(nearly 2GB)

Therefore u have 20GB harddisk ,and if u wish to create a partition of FAT16,then fat16 will support no more than 2GB.Hence u have to create 10 partions each having 2GB space.

Moreover,we know that each entry in a table is of 16bits and hence takes 2B hardisk space.
Therefore 2^16 entries in a table takes (2^16)*2B=4 MB hardisk space.

If u understand above ,then i will tell u abt FAT32 and NTFS in same manner later.Do let me inform.


Here is a table that compares FAT and NTFS. Use NTFS wherever possible, use FAT for backwards compatibility or when you want to exchange data with Linux.


Dear shakti,

i am understand about FAT16 thank u ,

i expecting u will give about NTFS and FAT 16


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