What is the Full Form of FAT?

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The full form of FAT is the File Allocation Table. It refers to a type of computer file system that is primarily used on various computer systems and memory cards. As the name suggests, it is used by operating systems to store and manage files on hard drives and other computer systems. Read on further to find more details about the history, types, and limitations of FAT.

History of FAT

  • FAT was originally launched in Bios and Windows 9x for hard drives.
  • Later on, IBM introduced FAT16 with its PC AT, and Microsoft’s MS-DOS 3.0 included in it. 
  • In 1987, Compaq DOS 3.31 introduced an enhancement to FAT16 by simply increasing the total number of disc sectors to 32 bits. 
  • In 1997, Microsoft also came up with FAT32 with an increase in capacity restrictions.

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Types of FAT

There are three major types of File Allocation Table file systems:

  • FAT12: It refers to the original FAT file system version that was introduced in 1980 with MSDOS. FAT12 came with a maximum size of 16MB.
  • FAT16: FAT16 was introduced in 1984 with MS-DOS 3.0. It supported larger disks than FAT12 and came with a maximum size of 2 GB.
  • FAT32: The most recent version of FAT is FAT32. Introduced in 1996, this version came with the release of Windows 95 OSR2. As expected, it supported larger disks than its predecessor and offered a maximum size of 2TB. 

Limitations of FAT

Here are a few limitations of FAT:

  • FAT or File Allocation Table has numerous partitions that are left undetected or unsupported. 
  • In the FAT system, the maximum number of files within a folder is 65,536.
  • The maximum file size in FAT is 4,294,967,295 bytes only. 
  • It does not support UTF 16 or UTF 8 characters.

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