File Systems in Operating System (OS)

A File system is responsible for organizing data into files and directories, allowing users and applications to locate, access, and manipulate information efficiently. It acts as a bridge between the user and the physical storage media, providing a logical structure for data storage.

In the below PDF we discuss about File System  in detail in simple language, Hope this will help in better understanding.

Operating System

Types of File Systems:

1.  FAT (File Allocation Table):

Developed by Microsoft, the FAT file system is one of the oldest and most widely used. It uses a table to manage the allocation of space on a storage device, but it has limitations in terms of file size and volume size.

2. NTFS (New Technology File System):

Also developed by Microsoft, NTFS is a more advanced file system with improved features, including support for larger file sizes, better security, and more efficient space utilization.

3. EXT (Extended File System):

Commonly used in Linux-based systems, the EXT file system family (e.g., EXT2, EXT3, EXT4) offers features like journaling, which enhances data integrity in case of unexpected shutdowns.

4. HFS+ (Hierarchical File System Plus):

Developed by Apple, HFS+ is the file system used in macOS. It supports features like journaling and is optimized for use with Apple’s hardware and software.

Key Components of a File System:

  • File: A file is a basic unit of storage in a file system. It can contain various types of data, such as text, images, programs, or any other information. Files are named and can be organized into directories for better management.
  • Directory: Directories, also known as folders, are used to organize files into a hierarchical structure. They help in categorizing and managing files, making it easier for users to navigate through the file system.
  • Metadata: File systems store metadata associated with each file, including information like file size, creation date, modification date, and permissions. Metadata helps the operating system manage and track files effectively.

File System Operations:

  1. File Creation and Deletion: Users can create new files or delete existing ones, and the file system manages the allocation and deallocation of storage space accordingly.
  2. Read and Write Operations: Reading involves retrieving data from a file, while writing involves storing new data. The file system ensures these operations are performed accurately and efficiently.
  3. File Permissions: File systems implement security mechanisms through permissions, determining who can read, write, or execute a file. This helps protect sensitive data and restrict unauthorized access.


In conclusion, understanding the file system is crucial for anyone seeking a deeper insight into the functioning of operating systems. From managing data organization to ensuring data security and integrity, the file system is an integral part of the digital landscape. As technology continues to evolve, so too will the file systems that underpin our digital experiences, adapting to new challenges and demands in the ever-changing world of computing.

Related Question

A file system is a mechanism used by an operating system to organize and store data on storage devices, such as hard drives or SSDs. It manages files, directories, and their hierarchical structure, providing a way for users and applications to access and organize data.

The primary functions of a file system include file organization, storage allocation, data retrieval, file naming, access control, and maintaining metadata such as file attributes and permissions.

A file is a collection of related information or data that is stored under a unique name on a storage device. Files can represent documents, programs, images, or any other type of user or system data.

A directory is a container used to organize files into a hierarchical structure. It acts like a folder and can contain both files and subdirectories. Directories help in managing and navigating through the file system by providing a structured organization of files.

File systems use various methods for storage allocation, including contiguous allocation, linked allocation, and indexed allocation. These methods determine how and where data is stored on the storage device.


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