File System: Explained - GoTechTalk


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

File System: Explained

You probably know someone that's always missing placing stuff I do personally, whether they can't find their keys in the morning they leave a clothes everywhere like my sweaters,  anyways could you imagine if your computer was that forgetful and never remembered where you put stuff like save games important papers or tax documents or your operating system?, fortunately all computers use some kind of file system so it can keep track of where all your stuff is just like how you might use a closet space or cabinets at home to keep your collection of random clothes and kitchen items from being a complete mess so how do they do that??

Well there are many different types of systems out there but what they all have in common is that they divide up your hard drive SSD or flash drive into small units that store data and have some kind of way of remembering what data is in each unit so it can go and find it, later on, to better understand how this works and to figure out what system to use for your own stuff let's have a look at some common file systems.

Starting off with file allocation table or fat and although its name is incredibly unflattering that was used by the vast majority of home windows-based pcs until XP came out that worked by splitting the disk into a bunch of clusters giving each cluster a unique ID number then using a table to track what part of what was stored in each cluster, alright pretty straightforward and simple no big deal there but as hard drives became larger and larger fat ran into some problems namely it resulted in a lot of wasted space because it often couldn't fill clusters completely, a problem called slack and could only support drives that were kind of smaller to the way that fat stored information about file locations fat32 which came to prominence with Windows 98 was an improvement but still couldn't deal with partitions larger than two terabytes which aren't that big these days.

To overcome these limitations every version of Windows since XP + NT 3.1 on the business side of things has used the only slightly less awkwardly named new technology file system or NTFS, NTFS uses some space management tricks to make it use space much more efficiently than fat resulting in better real-world capacity in many cases and can support massive partitions of hundreds of terabytes as well as huge individuals file sizes, important in the age of 4k videos that can span multiple hours making the massive, it also has features to help prevent data loss in the event of a crash native file compression and security features including native file encryption support to keep out unauthorized users, these features have made NTFS an almost universal choice for windows-based pcs these days but just like it's hard to get rid of those last 10 pounds of fat at the gym fat the file system hasn't completely gone away fat32 is still commonly used on USB flash drives to maintain compatibility with older versions of Windows as well as operating systems such as Linux and speaking of flash drives there's a new version of that called exFAT which is surprisingly not the name of a line of diet supplements.

exFAT was designed specifically with high capacity flash drives and memory cards in mind and support much larger capacities and file sizes than older versions of fat well not including features of NTFS that flash drives don't really need in order to keep things running quickly, exFAT isn't always compatible with some quite a bit older versions of Windows though so keep that in mind when choosing what you're going to use for your flash drive if you for some reason are still using like unpatched versions of XP, the good thing though is that it's  pretty easy to switch file systems on your flash drive by just doing a quick reformat after you've saved your file somewhere else, of course, I don't want to be responsible for that but no matter what you choose you can bet that your drives will keep track of your data better than your roommate who is always asking you where the TV remote is.

Alright, guys, that's the end of the blog, thanks for reading the whole way through if you enjoyed this blog please share it with someone who would be interested and leave a comment, Thanks for reading guys.

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