AfterDawn: Glossary

File Allocation Table

FAT is standard file system architecture for PCs, Macs and other devices like memory cards and USB flash drives.

The system is now outdated but is still an option for user of Windows before XP. XP moved the standard to NTFS.

The table was designed in 1976 by Bill Gates and Marc McDonald, developed for Basic and made with the intent of storing data on floppy disks. FAT was incorporated into the first version of DOS.

As a system, FAT uses minimal memory, is reliable, and has easy to remember file names.

FAT can only support up to 64k allocation units.

The system has since been upgraded to FAT16 and now FAT32.


Related glossary terms


Select a term to see the explanation