file allocation table

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file allocation table A list stored on disk and used by an operating system to manage files on a hard disk. In general, a file is held on disk in a number of fragments on different parts of the disk, stored as space allows. The file allocation table keeps track of the locations of these parts of the file, so that the file can be retrieved. In MS-DOS, the file allocation table is referred to as the FAT. Other operating systems have different file systems; for example, OS/2 uses HPFS (high-performance file system). Windows (version 95 and later) uses VFAT (virtual file allocation system) and Windows NT uses NTFS (NT file system).