File Recovery: FAT12, FAT16, FAT32

Understanding File System (FAT)

The file allocation table (FAT) file system is a simple file system originally designed for small disks and simple folder structures. It is thusly named for its method of organization by storing entries in a table which resides at the beginning of the volume.

The file allocation tables and the root folder must also be stored in a fixed location so that the files needed to start the system can be correctly located.

A volume formatted with the FAT file system is allocated in clusters. The default cluster size is determined by the size of the volume. For the FAT file system, the cluster number must fit in 16 bits and must be a power of two.

Structure of a FAT Volume

The next figure illustrates how the FAT file system organizes a volume.

How the FAT file system organizes a volume

See the next sections for more information about FAT:

Differences between FAT12, FAT16, FAT32

 

System Cluster limit
FAT12 The amount of data clusters is less than 4087 clusters.
FAT16 The amount of data clusters is between 4087 and 65526 clusters, inclusive.
FAT32 The amount of data clusters is between 65526 and 268,435,456 clusters, inclusive.