FAT32 - Computer Definition
(File Allocation Table32) The 32-bit version of the FAT file system. Employed on Windows PCs prior to the more advanced NTFS file system, the FAT32 format is widely used for USB drives, flash memory cards and external hard drives for compatibility on all platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android tablets, etc.). More Advanced than FAT16 Introduced in 1996, FAT32 was a major advancement over FAT16 in storage capacity (see table below). It also supported long file names rather than the eight-character convention in DOS (see 8.3 names). In the event of disk failure, FAT32 can relocate the root directory on the disk and use the backup copy of the FAT table. FAT32 also reduced cluster waste by having smaller cluster sizes at a time when drives were so small that any reduction was meaningful (see cluster). For more about the FAT architecture, see FAT and file system. See exFAT and NTFS.