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2 definitions found
 for file allocation table
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  file allocation table
      n 1: the part of a floppy disk or hard disk where information is
           stored about the location of each piece of information on
           the disk (and about the location of unusable areas of the
           disk)

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  File Allocation Table
  FAT
  FAT32
  
      (FAT) The component of an MS-DOS or Windows
     95 file system which describes the files, directories,
     and free space on a hard disk or floppy disk.
  
     A disk is divided into partitions.  Under the FAT file
     system each partition is divided into clusters, each of
     which can be one or more sectors, depending on the size of
     the partition.  Each cluster is either allocated to a file or
     directory or it is free (unused).  A directory lists the name,
     size, modification time and starting cluster of each file or
     subdirectory it contains.
  
     At the start of the partition is a table (the FAT) with one
     entry for each cluster.  Each entry gives the number of the
     next cluster in the same file or a special value for "not
     allocated" or a special value for "this is the last cluster in
     the chain".  The first few clusters after the FAT contain the
     root directory.
  
     The FAT file system was originally created for the CP/M[?]
     operating system where files were catalogued using 8-bit
     addressing.  MS DOS's FAT allows only 8.3 filenames.
  
     With the introduction of MS-DOS 4 an incompatible 16-bit FAT
     (FAT16) with 32-kilobyte clusters was introduced that
     allowed partitions of up to 2 gigabytes.
  
     Microsoft later created FAT32 to support partitions larger
     than two gigabytes and pathnames greater that 256
     characters.  It also allows more efficient use of disk space
     since clusters are four kilobytes rather than 32 kilobytes.
     FAT32 was first available in OEM Service Release 2 of
     Windows 95 in 1996.  It is not fully backward compatible
     with the 16-bit and 8-bit FATs.
  
     IDG article
     
  http://idg.net/idgframes/english/content.cgi?vc=docid_9-62525.html)">(http://idg.net/idgframes/english/content.cgi?vc=docid_9-62525.html).
     http://home.c2i.net/tkjoerne/os/fat.htm)">(http://home.c2i.net/tkjoerne/os/fat.htm).
     http://teleport.com/~brainy/)">(http://teleport.com/~brainy/).
     http://209.67.75.168/hardware/fatgen.htm)">(http://209.67.75.168/hardware/fatgen.htm).
     http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q154/9/97.asp)">(http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q154/9/97.asp).
  
     Compare: NTFS.
  
     [How big is a FAT?  Is the term used outside MS DOS?  How long
     is a FAT16 filename?]
  
     (2000-02-05)
  

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