What is the Fat32 File System its Advantages and Disadvantages?

After more than 20 years of useYou are surely wondering what the advantages and disadvantages of Fat32 are compared to more recent systems. And no wonder, after all, this file system was for nothing more and nothing less than floppy disks!

You have probably heard the term when talking about formatting a USB flash drive to Fat32. Or you may come across a tutorial on How-To on converting FAT32 partitions to NTFS on AOMEI Partition. The truth is that there is a whole world behind the subject.

However, today its use is widely spread. You have certainly not only seen this format on old machines but even on the newest devices. Are you interested in knowing why? You have come to the right place

File systems

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This is what all the Fat32, exfFat, NTFS, ext3, ext4, etc. formats are in short. They are nothing more than structure according to which data is organized. In other words, it refers to the order in which each of these data will be located on a specific device.

This is important as it defines where and how the information will be located, both for writing and reading. You can understand it as the rules of the language in question, the letters in English and Spanish are almost the same, but they are used and organized differently.

Similarly, one organization or another will have a serious impact on how you leverage the device in question. In the case of FAT32, they are acronyms that mean File Allocation Table 32that is, Table for 32-bit file locations.

old diskette cd room

This was devised already a couple of decades ago and came to replace FAT and FAT16. However, nowadays there are other file systems that are mainly used such as NTFS and exFat. These especially for MAC and Windows, since Linux usually uses the extensions ext.

Despite this, the longevity of FAT32 is undeniable and it is necessary to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the Fat32 with respect to the others.

Advantages and disadvantages of Fat32 today

In order to compare its advantages and disadvantages, it is best to check this file system with its successor, NTFS. Both systems are used by versions of the Windows operating system and their use in other devices is equally frequent, that said, it is possible to focus on some specific aspects.


Compared to its predecessors, FAT32 allowed the use of a much larger file size, reaching up to 4GB. Equally supports partitions larger than 8 TB.

Now, after so long, between the advantages and disadvantages of Fat32, the main advantage of this file system is its compatibility. Due to its simple design, it is supported by virtually any device. From Android or Apple cameras and cell phones to powerful next-generation TVs and PCs, all are capable of reading this file system.

This does ideal for portable storage peripheralssuch as Pendrives and SD cards. This is due to the multiple devices that it will require to connect to and with the digital age on its back, this is essential. Likewise, its stability is commendable, since it preserves your data over time much better than other systems.

external disk


Being a somewhat old file system, among the advantages and disadvantages of Fat32, we can find some significant disadvantages.

The most important refers to file size, since it does not admit those that are greater than 4Gb. In contrast, NTFS has practically no limit on file size, which is very important today, as even a movie can exceed this limit.

Similarly, NTFS partitions are unlimited in size. What’s more, FAT32 read speed is slightly slower and it does not offer the ability to encrypt data.

Finally, the most serious disadvantage would be that does not provide any protection against voltage disturbances. This is particularly sensitive when it comes to constant use on multiple devices.

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