(File Allocation Table) The mechanism that keeps track of files stored on disk in the FAT file system, which originated in DOS and is also used by many versions of Windows. When the disk is high-level formatted, the FAT, which is recorded twice, contains a table with an entry for each disk cluster.|
The file system's directory list, which contains file name, extension, date, etc., points to the FAT entry where the file starts. If a file is larger than one cluster, the first FAT entry points to the next FAT entry where the second cluster of the file is stored and so on to the end of the file. If a cluster becomes damaged, its FAT entry is marked as such, and that cluster is not used again. The original 16-bit version of the FAT file system (FAT16) supported hard disk partitions up to 4GB and files as large as 2GB. The 32-bit version dramatically increased capacity limits (see FAT32). See FAT32, NTFS, inode and file system.
The file RESUME.DOC is stored in clusters 0, 2, 3 and 7. The directory entry points to cluster 0 where the file begins. The entry for cluster 0 points to cluster 2 and so on. BUDGET.XLS is stored in clusters 1, 4, 8 and 9.