Understanding and Types of System Files on Windows and Linux

Have you ever heard the words file system? File systems are a way to organize and store files on a hard drive, flash drive, disk drive, and other storage devices. Have you ever heard of partition? A partition on a hard drive in format with system files, the formatting process of a drive will result in empty system files on the device.

Each operating system has a different type of system file, for example windows has fat32, fat36, etc.system files. While Linux has ext2, ext3, etc.system files. For those of you who want to get to know more about the following admin write the types of system files.

Actually system files are also found on other operating systems such as MAC OS, DOS, etc. But in this article I only write 2 types of system files only, namely system files on windows and system files on linux, because the windows and linux operating systems are the most widely known operating systems.

System files on windows

The first types of system files are the types of system files on windows, there are FAT, FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, and NTFSsystem files, and here is an explanation.

FAT (File Allocation Table)

FAT is the first system file generation on windows, FAT uses file allocation tables for its operation. All versions of the windows operating system are compatible with FAT system files. This system file has several versions that are still in use today, here are some versions of FAT system files.

FAT12(File Allocation Table 13)

FAT12 is a file system that uses allocation units, FAT 12 only has a maximum limit of 12 bits. Fat12 system files can only accommodate 212 allocation units or 4096 pieces only.

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FAT12 only has 32 MB of storage, so this system file is only used as a floppy disk or floppy disk only. FAT12 was first used on the MS DOS Operating System.

FAT16(File Allocation Table 16)

As the name implies FAT16 only has a maximum limit of 16 bits, this system file is able to accommodate allocation units up to 216 units or as many as 65536 pieces.

The maximum file capacity of this system is 4GB, while the size of the allocation unit used in fat16 system files depends on the hard drive partition to be formatted. FAT16 has a uniqueness that is when the capacity is less than 16MB then the system file to be used is FAT12, but if the capacity exceeds 16MB then the system file to be used is FAT16.

The FAT16 file system was used on its first MS-DOS operating system in 1981. And file system has its own advantage that is compatible in almost all operating systems such as windows, Linux, and Unix. The disadvantage of FAT16 system files is its fixed capacity in the number of clusters in partitions, so the point is that the larger the hard drive capacity, the larger the cluster size. In addition, this file system also does not support compression, encryption, and access controls in partitions.

FAT32 (File Allocation Table32)

FAT32 system files are FAT type system files that have been quite developed, this system file has a limit of up to 32bit. FAT 32 is capable of accommodating 232 allocation units or as many as 4294967296, and this system file has a capacity of up to 8TB.

FAT32 system files began to be introduced in the windows operating system generation 95 OEM Service Release 2, For the operating system windows NT 5.x and above, partition creation is limited to 32GB only. If the partition capacity is greater than 32GB then the System File used is an NTFS system file.

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But unfortunately not many operating systems are compatible with this system file. But this file system also has its own advantages, namely the ability to accommodate a larger number of clusters.

exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)

ExFAT or often known as FAT 64 is the last generation of fat series windows system files. The exFAT system file has a maskimum limit of up to 64 bits, and can accommodate up to 216 single allocation units or as many as 65536.

This system file was created by Microsoft for embedded devices in Windows Embedded CE 6.0 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

There are many disadvantages and advantages contained in this system file. But this system file is still better than previous versions, because there has been some optimization.

NTFS (New Technology File System)

NTFS is the best windows system file in terms of quality, because it appears last and is a development of the previous system files. NTFS has a simpler look but has better capabilities compared to the FAT series.

NTFS was first introduced by Microsoft on the Windows NT operating system and is already compatible with the latest versions of Windows starting from Windows 7.

NTFS has many advantages, and here are the advantages of NTFS system files:

  • Can set user volume quota
  • It supports transparent encryption using commonly used encryption algorithms.
  • Supports data compression.
  • And many more.

NTFS has 6 versions, and here are the versions on the NTFS system file:

  • NTFS Version 1.0
  • NTFS Version 1.1
  • NTFS Version 1.2
  • NTFS Version 2.0
  • NTFS Version 3.0
  • NTFS Version 3.1

System files on Linux

After discussing system files on windows now we switch to system files on linux, here are the types of system files on linux.

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Second Extended (ext2)

This file system was first developed and applied to the Linux operating system, but is now developed again so that it supports the windows operating system, etc.

One of the advantages of this system file is that it is compatible with several standard file types from Unix, for example symlink, DSF, regular files, etc. In addition, this system file can also produce a long name, the maximum limit is 255 characters.

Third Extented System (ext3)

This file system has a journaled file system feature designed to protect the data contained in it. The ext3 system file is a development on the previous system file that is ext2, and this system file has several advantages. Here are the advantages of the ext3 system file.


Ext3 system files do not support the system file checking process, even when system files are still running and the system is shut down.

Data integrity

Ext3 system files provide a stronger data integrity guarantee in cases where system files that are still running or not cleaned are turned off.

Fourth extended file system (ext4)

And the system file on linux the latter is ext4, this system file is released with a complete or complete version and a stable version, this system file comes from kernel 2.5.28. So if your default distro has a kernel version or higher then automatically your system is compatible with ext4 system files.

One of the advantages of ext4 system files is that it has 48bit block experience which means it has a capacity of 1EB or 11,048,576TB.

Thus the article about system files on windows and linux, how do you understand? yes hopefully this article can be useful for all of you who read, if there are [questions please write in the comments field.

Originally posted 2021-09-11 14:52:14.