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What is file system?

  • In computing, a file system is the method and data structure that an operating system uses to keep track of files on a disk or partition. The DOS, Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX-based operating systems all have file systems in which files are placed somewhere in a hierarchical (tree) structure.  A file is placed in a directory (folder in Windows) or subdirectory at the desired place in the tree structure.

    File systems specify conventions for naming files, which include what the maximum number of characters in a name is, which characters can be used, and, in some systems, how long the file name suffix can be. A file system also includes a format for specifying the path to a file through the structure of directories.

    FAT12, FAT16, exFAT, FAT32, and NTFS are disk file systems in Windows, but now users seldom see the former 3. Comparing FAT32 with NTFS, the former has some limitations: for example, a single file larger than 4GB can not be saved to FAT32 partition; files saved in FAT32 partition can be modified by anyone who has access to your computer. On the contrary, NTFS makes up most of these limits. Therefore, it is requisite to convert FAT32 to NTFS.

    Nevertheless, users may need to convert NTFS to FAT since some media players and game machines (like PS 3 and Xbox 360) only recognize devices whose first partition is formatted with FAT.

    Well then, how to convert file system without losing any data? MiniTool Partition Wizard can help complete this kind of conversion with ease.