Microsoft's FAT32 Deserves Its Freedom

Last week, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) sued TomTom for infringing on patents relating to (among other things) the format of its File Allocation Table 32-bit (FAT32) disk format. These patents relate to mundane issues like how to translate pretty names like "C:\Temporary Files" into ugly short ones like "C:\TEMPOR~1" that older programs can understand, and the layout of files on the physical media such as hard drives or flash memory.

So what are the implications of Microsoft having a patent on FAT technology? Let's look at a simple example. Whenever you plug a flash drive into your PC, the odds are that it's formatted with Microsoft's FAT32 technology. If you take that flash drive to another non-PC device, the software on that device needs to be able to understand the FAT32 format in order to read the files. Microsoft says that to do that, you need to license their patents.

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hesido3999d ago

That my PS3 still only accepts fat32 formatted external drives, it is time it starts accepting modern Linux filesystems, without filesize limitations btw.

callahan093999d ago

I agree. I still haven't backed up my hard drive because I have 70 GB worth of stuff on my PS3, and I can't format a FAT32 partition to more than 32GB, so I don't have access to the "system backup" feature. I'd have to transfer every single file individually which is a ridiculous pain in the ass, and I'm not going to do it. I really hope they add support for other formatting.

f7897903999d ago

Thats why you always had a 4GB install on MGS4. I wonder if they could have created multiple installs under different names for the game to use.

Godmars2903999d ago

Makes any size drive FAT32 w/o partitions - if you don't want them.

callahan093999d ago

Hey, thanks a bunch, Godmars! That's exactly what I needed.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 3999d ago
truegame3999d ago (Edited 3999d ago )

Here you go Bro:


Allows creation of a single partition of up to 2048GB of FAT32 or NTFS file systems.

Supports Hi-Speed USB, PCMCIA, SATA, SCSI, USB 1.1, and FireWire® external drives

Plus some of the drive manfac: (Maxtor etc have tools on there web site to make large partition). Using Swiss I even split my single external hard drive with one partition Fat32(500g) and the other partition 500(NTFS) on the same physical drive.

hesido3999d ago

Still, Swissknife cannot do anything about actual file limit of 2GB per file, but it should solve Callahan09's problems for now..

truegame3999d ago (Edited 3999d ago )

FAT32 limit for a single file is 4GB not 2GB.

Fat16 file size limit is 2GB.
Fat32 file size limit is 4GB.
Fat32 partition size is 2048GB.
Any thing larger than 2048GB(2TB) requires GPT.

Thugbot1873999d ago (Edited 3999d ago )

I was going to write the same thing but you got to it first. Clearly most of the people here have no clue what they are talking about but write it here like its gospel. Bubbles for you setting the record straight.

hesido3999d ago

Sorry, it was just a typo. Thanks for correcting.

callahan093999d ago (Edited 3999d ago )

thanks to everybody for the SwissKnife tip, I'll have to give it a try. But what about the System Files that are over 4GB? If I try to do a system backup, what happens with those files?

hesido3999d ago

PS3 takes care of all the file splitting, no worries there.

callahan093999d ago

So even though the FAT32 has a maximum single file size of 4GB, if I do a system backup, it'll still transfer over the files that are larger than that?

FamilyGuy3999d ago

You should try it out and see. Maybe the PS3 will split the files over 4Gbs when copying them for backup and re-compile them during transfer process. If not it'll probably just skip those files.

Since it only supports particular types of media files I would think they're likely to have a built in program that can split things like MP4s, Vobs and Avis where as as game file install being limited to 4Gbs because of it's different file structure.