What is File System and how many types are there?

What is File System and how many types are there (2)
What is File System and how many types are there (2)

If you are from a computer background, then you probably know what the file system is and how many types are there? If not then there is nothing to worry about because today we will know about what is this file system of computer and all the things related to it. 

Some types of file systems (also called FS in short) in computers that help store and organize data in storage media, such as hard drives, CDs, DVDs, optical drives or flash drives (Pendrive) In.

You can think of a file system as an index or database in which the physical location of all the data of the hard drive or any other storage device is stored. In this, the data is usually organized into folders which are called directories, and it also contains other folders and files. 

Any place where a computer or any other electronic device stores the data, there is some kind of file system used. This includes your Windows computer, your Mac, Smartphone, Bank’s ATM… even the computer in your car. 

If you also want to get complete information about what are these file systems and their types, then you should read this article from the file system in computers one time at a time, till all the doubts articles in your mind get over and Will not stay. Then let’s move forward without delay.


What is File System and how many types are there
What is File System and how many types are there


What is File System – What is File System

Everything in each computer system is stored according to the files. These files are mainly either data files or application files. Each operating system has its own way of organizing data internally. 

The operating system here performs this management with the help of a program called the File System. The type of file system here determines how to access data and programs. Also, it also determines which level of accessibility is available to the users.

Also, Read – What is the GPU? What’s the difference between GPU and CPU?

What are the file systems?

In a computer, a file system – written as filesystem – is a method where files are named and where they are placed logically for storage and retrieval. 

Without a file system, it is difficult to isolate stored information in individual files and in such a situation it becomes even more difficult to identify and retrieve them. As data capacities increase, then their organization and accessibility of individual files become more important in data storage.

Digital file systems and files are named and modeled after paper-based filing systems only, using the same logic-based method to store and retrieve documents. File systems are different in different operating systems (OS), such as Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux-based systems. 

Some file systems are designed for some specific applications. Major types of file systems are distributed file systems, disk-based file systems, and special-purpose file systems.

The architecture of the file system

Each File System has two or three layers. Sometimes all layers in the File System are explicitly separated, and sometimes the function of all layers is combined into one layer. It depends on that work on how to do it. 

1. Logical file system – This file system is related to the user application, such as an application program to open (OPEN) the file and read (READ) its data and then the application program to close (CLOSE) the file. Provides the Application Program Interface. This layer provides file access, directory related tasks, and security-related operations. 

2. Virtual file system (optional) – This layer is not required to be present in every file system, using this layer to access virtual files made to bind. 

3. Physical file system – This layer is related to the physical operation of a storage device (such as a disk). It processes the physical blocks to be read or written. It handles buffering and memory management and is responsible for the physical location of blocks in specific locations on the storage medium. The physical file system interacts with the device drivers or with the channel to run the storage device.

How do file systems work?

A file system that stores and organizes data, we can understand the type of an index that indexes all the data of the storage device. These devices can be anything like hard drives, optical drives, and flash drives. 

File systems specify many things such as the naming of files, placing the maximum number of characters in a name, which characters can be used, and many more. Because file names in many file systems are not case sensitive. Along with the file, file systems also hold much different information such as the size of the file, its attributes, location and hierarchy directory, and also in the metadata. 

Metadata can easily identify the available storage of free blocks and how much space is available in that drive. A file system also includes a format that specifies the path of the file from the structure of its directory. A file is placed in a directory – or in a folder of the Windows OS – or in the desired place in a subdirectory, in a tree structure. 

Files are placed in the file systems of PC and mobile operating systems in a hierarchical tree structure. Before creating files and directories in Storage Medium, partitions must be put first in the right places. 

A partition is a region of hard disk or any other storage that the OS manages separately. A file system is placed in the primary partition, and some OSes allow multiple partitions on the same disk. In such a situation, if one file system is corrupted, then the data in another partition is completely safe.

Types of file systems (according to Operating Systems)

By the way, there are many types of file systems, all of which have different logical structures and properties, such as speed and size. These file system types can be different according to OS or according to OS requirements. 

The three most common PC operating systems are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. The Mobile Operating System includes Apple iOS and Google Android.

At the same time, here we will learn about these major file systems only: 

1. File allocation table (FAT)

It supports the File System Microsoft Windows OS. FAT is considered very simple and reliable and has been modeled only after legacy file systems. 

The FAT was designed in 1977 for floppy disks but was later adapted to hard disks. While it is very efficient and compatible with almost all current OSes, FAT cannot match with modern file systems of today if their performance and scalability are compared. 

also, read – iPhone Vs Android Phone – Which Smartphone is the Best?

2. Global file system (GFS)

This file system is mainly used in Linux OS. It is a shared disk file system. GFS offers direct access to shared block storage and together it can be used according to a local file system. 

GFS2 is an updated version of Original GFS, it has features that you may not see in the original GFS, such as an updated metadata system. Under the GNU General Public License, both GFS and GFS2 file systems are available according to free software. 

3. Hierarchical file system (HFS)

These HFS were developed to be used in Mac operating systems. HFS is referred to by a Mac OS Standard, followed by Mac OS Extended. 

It was originally introduced in 1985. For the same floppy and hard disks, HFS completely replaced the original Macintosh file system. At the same time, it can also be used in CD-ROMs.

Types of Windows File System

Likewise, there are many types of Windows File Systems, but some of them are very important. So let’s know about them. 

What is File System and how many types are there
What is File System and how many types are there

1. FAT File System

The full form of FAT is “File Allocation Table”. A File Allocation Table (FAT) is a file system created by Microsoft in 1977. 

This file allocation table is used by the operating system to locate files in the disk. A file can be divided into many sections and can also be divided due to fragmentation around the disk. The FAT keeps track of all pieces of a file. 

In DOS systems, FAT is stored after the boot sector. The use of these file systems started happening more after the arrival of the PC. 

FAT is still used for a preferred file system that also includes floppy drive media and portable, high capacity storage devices such as flash drives and other solid-state memory devices such as SD cards. 

What are the features of the FAT File System? 

Let us now know about some important features of FAT File System

Naming Convention

1. The FAT file system that was used by MS-DOS provided only file names with 8 characters long. 

2. The FAT file system that was used by Windows 2000 used to support long filename. Here, they used to support the full path of file including filename for about 255 characters long. 

3. It can use any character in file names except “/ [] =, ^? A” “

4. File names must start with an alphanumeric character. 

5. File names can use spaces and multiple periods. In this, the characters after the last period are also treated as file extensions.


FAT neither provides local nor folder security. A user who is logged on to the computer locally then has full access to all the files and folders that are in the FAT partitions of the computer.

Quick Access to Files

FAT provides quick access to files. The speed of file access depends on the file type, file size, partition size, fragmentation and number of files that are in the folder. 

2. FAT32 File System

FAT32 is an advanced version of the FAT file system. It can be used in drives whose memory is in size from 512 MB to 2TB. A very important feature is that it offers compatibility of FAT and FAT32 with other operating systems which is not different from Windows 2000.

What are the features of the FAT32 File System?

Let us now know about the features of FAT32,

Partition Size

FAT32 increases the number of bits that are used to address the cluster. A cluster set of sectors is called. They reduce the size of each cluster. It supports a larger disk (up to 2TB) and provides better storage efficiency.

also, read – How to do Mobile Balance Transfer?

Access speed

FAT32 provides better file access, in partitions whose sizes are less than 500 MB or larger than 2GB, it provides better disk space utilization.

Types of FAT File Systems

There are also many types of FAT File Systems, let’s try to know about them.

FAT12 (12-bit File Allocation Table)

This was a much-used version of the FAT file system. The FAT12 was introduced in 1980, right alongside the first versions of DOS. 

FAT12 is the primary file system of Microsoft Operating Systems up to MS-DOS 3.30 but later also used in MS-DOS 4.0. Using FAT12, you may also see a floppy disk. 

FAT12 supports drive sizes and file sizes up to 16 MB in which they use 4 KB clusters or 8 KB clusters in 32 MB. The maximum number in a single volume can be 4,084 files (when we use 8KB clusters). 

File names that fall under FAT12 cannot exceed the character limit (8 characters), for plus 3 extensions. 

In FAT12, many file attributes were first introduced which are hidden, read-only, system, and volume label. 

FAT16 (16-bit File Allocation Table)

The second implementation of FAT was FAT16, which was introduced in 1984 in PC DOS 3.0 and MS-DOS 3.0. 

At the same time a slightly more improved version of FAT16, it was named FAT16B, became the primary file system from MS-DOS 4.0 to MS-DOS 6.22. 

At the beginning of MS-DOS 7.0 and Windows 95, a further improved version, called FAT16X, began to be used. 

Looking at the operating system and the cluster size used, the maximum drive size ranges from a FAT16-formatted drive to 2 GB to 16 GB, while the latter is only used in Windows NT 4 with 256 KB clusters. 

In FAT16 the file size drives up to max 4 GB with Large File Support enabled, or only 2 GB without it. 

The maximum number of files that can be held in a FAT16 volume is 65,536. Like FAT12, file names are placed in the limit of 8 + 3 characters but can be expanded to 255 characters with Windows 95. 

The archive file attribute was first introduced in FAT16 itself. 

FAT32 (32-bit File Allocation Table)

FAT32 This is the latest version of the FAT file system. It was first introduced in 1996 for Windows 95 OSR2 / MS-DOS 7.1 users, and it was the primary file system for the consumer who used Windows versions up to Windows ME. 

The FAT32 supports basic drive sizes up to 2 TB and up to 16 TB in high but with 64 KB clusters. 

Like the FAT16, the file sizes in the FAT32 max out 4 GB which is large File Support when it is turned on or 2 GB without it. 

A modified version of FAT32 is FAT32 +, which supports files whose size is up to 256 GB! 

Up to 268,173,300 files can hold a FAT32 volume, as long as they are using 32 KB clusters. 

exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)

exFAT was first introduced in 2006 by Microsoft. VaisThis was not the next version of FAT32. 

exFAT was primarily designed to be used in portable media devices such as flash drives, SDHC and SDXC cards, etc. 

exFAT officially supports portable media storage devices up to 512 TiB size but theoretically, it can support drives whose size is up to 64 ZiB, which is really a very large available size. This Native supports up to 255 character filenames and supports around 2,796,202 files per directory. 

These are the two noteworthy features of this exFAT system. This exFAT file system is supported by almost all versions of Windows (older ones with optional updates), Mac OS X (10.6.5+), with many TVs, media, and other devices.

What is File System and how many types are there
What is File System and how many types are there

NTFS File System

The full form of NTFS is the “New Technology File System”. Windows 2000 professional fully supports NTFS. 

Let us now know about some of its characteristics. 

What are the features of the NTFS File System?

Here further we are going to know about some important features of NTFS File System.

also, read – What is MotherBoard and how does it work?

What is Naming Conventions


  • File names can contain up to 255 characters 
  • File names can contain most characters only “/ <> * | Except 
  • its file names are not case sensitive.



NTFS provides file and folder security. Its files and folders are much safer than FAT. To maintain security, NTFS permissions are assigned to files and folders. Security is maintained at both the local level and network-level as well. 

In this, permissions can be assigned to individual files and folders. Each file and folder has an Access Control List in the NTFS partition. It contains users and group security identifier (SID) and all the privileges that are given to them.

Partition Size

NTFS partition and file sizes are much larger than FAT partitions and files. The maximum size of an NTFS Partition or File can be 16 exabytes. But its practical limit is only up to two Terabytes. In this, the file size range is from 4GB to 64GB.

File compression

NTFS provides file compression up to 50%.

High reliability

NTFS is very reliable. This is a recoverable file system. 

It uses transaction logs to automatically update files and folders logs. This system has the power to tolerate too much fault tolerance. This means that if a transaction fails due to power or system failure, then the data can be recovered using logged transactions.

Bad cluster mapping

NTFS supports bad-cluster mapping. This means that the file system detects bad clusters or areas of the disk that contain errors. If there is any data in those clusters, then they are retrieved and stored in another area. 

These bad clusters are marked so that the future can prevent data storage in these areas.

Why are there so many file systems?

Not all file systems are the same. Different file systems have different ways of organizing data. Some file systems are faster than others, some have additional security features, and some support drives that have large storage capacities, while some only work on drives that have low storage capacity. 

What is File System and how many types are there
What is File System and how many types are there

Some file systems are more robust and resistant to file corruption, whereas others prefer to keep extra speed in place of this robustness. 

There is no such best file system that is the best in all tasks. Each operating system uses its own file system, which is built by that operating system developers. Microsoft, Apple, and Linux kernel developers also work in their own file systems. 

New file systems are faster, more stable, scale better than before in larger storage devices, and they also have more features than the old ones. While designing a file system, many different tasks have to be done in it, which can be done in many ways. 

A file system is not like a partition, which is simply a chunk of storage space. A file system specifies how to layout files, how to organize them, how to be indexed, and how to associate metadata with it. Because no matter how good a file system you create, there is always a little space for improvement. 

Role of File Systems and Metadata in it

File systems use metadata to store and retrieve files. Examples of metadata tags.

  • Date created 
  • Date modified 
  • the Last date of access 
  • Last backup
  • User ID of the file creator 
  • Access permissions 
  • File size

Metadata is stored separately from the contents of files, in which many file systems store their file names in separate directory entries. Some metadata are kept in the directory, while other metadata are kept in a structure called an inode. 

Unix-Like operating systems, an inode also stores metadata that is unrelated to the content of the file. This inode indexes the information according to the number, which is used to access the location of the file and then the file as well. 

An example of a file system that capitalizes on metadata is OS X, this OS is used by Apple. This allows many optimization features, including file names that can be stretched to 255 characters.

File System Access

File systems restrict read and write access to users of a particular group. Passwords are a very easy way to do this. By controlling who can modify or read flies, restricting access ensures that data modification is controlled and limited. 

Access or capability control lists such as file permissions can be used to moderate file system access. These types of mechanisms are very useful for removing access from regular users, but they are not very effective to prevent external intruders. 

Encrypting files can also remove user access, but it is more focused on protecting systems from outside attacks. An encryption key can be applied to this unencrypted text to encrypt them, or these keys can also be used to decrypt encrypted text. 

Only users with a key can access the file. With encryption, the file system does not need to know about the encryption key, they just have to manage the data effectively.

What are the differences between FAT and NTFS File Systems?

This question is often asked by many people what is the difference between FAT and NTFS File Systems. So let us know today about the difference between these two file systems.

FAT File System


  1. It does not provide any security if the user logs in locally. File and folder level security permission does not exist in it. 
  2. It only supports 8 characters long file names. 
  3. It is suitable for partition disks whose size is less than 500 MB. 
  4. Partition and file size can be up to 4 GB. 
  5. It supports no file compression. 
  6. The disk can become fragmented in it, which may slow down the speed of its access process. 
  7. It is not very reliable because it does not support bad cluster mapping.


NTFS File System


  1. It provides security to both local and remote users. Security is provided in the level of files and folders. 
  2. It supports 255 characters long file names. 
  3. It is suitable in those partitions which are more than 500 MB. 
  4. The partition size can be up to 16 exabytes. 
  5. It supports file compression. 
  6. This provides less possibility of fragmentation. 
  7. It is very reliable as it supports bad cluster mapping and transaction logging.

A typical computer user does not know much about all these topics, even though it is not so important to know – but it should be transparent and simple – if you can understand these basics, then it will be easy for you to understand, ” Why don’t these Mac-formatted drives work in my Windows PC? “And” Should I format my USB hard drive in FAT32 or NTFS mode? Questions like.

Read this also – What is Share Market – Meaning & Definition of Share Market


I hope you have liked this article about my file system. It has always been my endeavor to provide complete information about the filesystem of these computers to the readers so that there is no need to search them in the context of that article on any other site or internet. 

This will also save their time and they will also get all the information in one place. If you have any doubts about this article or you want that there should be some improvement in it, then for this you can write down comments.

If you liked what this post File System is or got to learn something, then please share this post on social networks such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, etc.

Rate this post


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here