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FAT 16 - Definition

The FAT 16 file system was introduced with MS–DOS and was in use through the first version of Windows 95. It was originally designed to index files on a floppy drive and also on hard drives up to a capacity of 2.1 Gigabytes. Therefore, if you have a 6 GB hard drive you would need to create three individual partitions under FAT 16 to utilize the entire hard drive. In addition, your hard disk is divided into 512-byte pieces called sectors, which are then grouped into larger pieces called clusters. Therefore, the maximum number of clusters that the FAT 16 system can manage is 65,535, and in order to stay within this limit on larger hard disks, the FAT 16 system increases the size of the clusters accordingly. For instance, a 512MB (megabyte) hard disk uses 8KB (kilobyte) clusters, a 850MB hard disk uses 16KB clusters, and a 1.2GB (gigabyte) hard disk uses 32KB clusters and so on. FAT16 was later replaced by the FAT32 file system.


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