What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Fat32 file system?

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Craig Zacker
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After more than 20 years of use, you are surely wondering what are the advantages and disadvantages of Fat32 compared to newer systems. And no wonder, after all, that this file system was no more and no less than floppy disks!

You've probably heard the term when it comes to formatting a USB flash drive to Fat32. Or you may come across a tutorial on how to convert FAT32 partitions to NTFS on AOMEI Partition. The truth is, there is a whole world behind the argument.

However, its use is widespread today. Surely you have not only seen this format on older machines, but also on newer devices. Interested in knowing why? You have come to the right place

File System

This is what all Fat32, exfFat, NTFS, ext3, ext4, etc. formats do. I'm in short. They are none other than there structure according to which the data are organized. In other words, it refers to the order in which each of this data will be located on a specific device.

This is important as it defines where and how the information will be placed, for both 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.

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

This was devised as early as a couple of decades ago and has come to replace FAT and FAT16. However, there are other file systems nowadays which are mainly used like NTFS and exFat. These especially for MAC and Windows, as Linux usually uses ext extensions.

Nevertheless, the longevity of the FAT32 is undeniable and it is necessary to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the Fat32 compared to the others.

Advantages and disadvantages of Fat32 today

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


Compared to its predecessors, FAT32 allowed the use of much larger files, reaching up to 4GB. Supports also partitions that exceed 8 TB.

Now, after a long time, among the advantages and disadvantages of Fat32, the main advantage of this file system is its compatibility. Thanks to its simple design, it is supported by virtually any device. From Android or Apple cameras and mobile phones to powerful next-generation TVs and PCs, everyone can read this file system.

This makes it ideal for portable storage devices, such as Pendrive and SD cards. This is due to the multiple devices it will require to connect and with the digital age behind, this is essential. Likewise, its stability is commendable, as it retains your data over time much better than other systems.


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

The most important refers to the file size, since it does not support those greater than 4Gb. Conversely, NTFS has virtually no file size limitation, which is very important today, as even a movie can exceed this limit.

Likewise, NTFS partitions are unlimited in size. Furthermore, the reading speed of FAT32 is slightly slower and does not offer the ability to encrypt data.

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

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