FAT File System
The file allocation table (FAT) file system makes it possible for an operating system to track the location and sequence of each piece of a file. Today, the FAT file system has become the ubiquitous format that is used for the interchange of media between computers. Since the advent of inexpensive, removable flash memory, the FAT file system has also become the format that is used between digital devices.
The FAT file system provides a way to time stamp when a file is created or changed and provides a way to identify the size of the file. This system provides a mechanism to store other attributes of a file, such as whether a file is read-only, whether the file should be hidden in a directory display, or whether a file should be archived during the next disk backup. The FAT file system is ideal for removable flash media used in consumer electronic devices, such as digital cameras, media players, and flash drives.
The FAT file system can be helpful in the following scenarios:
Because of the backward compatibility of the FAT file system, users can employ memory stick media or floppy disks to transfer files between a consumer electronics device and a computer that is running an outdated operating system.
The FAT file system lets users quickly remove files from electronics devices, as in professional broadcast media.
The file system versions FAT16 or FAT32 may be suitable for a hard disk drive volume (for example, when the operating system, such as Windows 98, does not provide support for NTFS). These versions would also be useful to a user who wants to boot a computer by using a floppy disk to access data (typically, system recovery tools) on a hard disk drive volume.
The FAT file system licensing program includes rights with regard to implementation of the Microsoft FAT file system specification under a number of U.S. patents that include the following:
U.S. Patent #5,579,517
U.S. Patent #5,758,352
U.S. Patent #6,286,013
Additionally, the FAT file system licensing package includes rights to FAT file system innovations for which Microsoft has filed a claim for a patent that the U.S. Patent Office has not yet granted. This licensing program also provides licensees with rights to the Microsoft FAT file system issued and pending patents outside the United States and to the Microsoft FAT file system specification and certain test specifications.