Microsoft has released an update for Windows XP SP2 and SP3 system that adds exFAT file system drivers to the operating system. The exFAT file system is the successor to the FAT32 file system which comes with several advantages but also a few disadvantages in comparison to both the FAT32 and NTFS system. It was mainly designed to address the growing needs of mobile personal storage on different operating systems. The exFAT file system was initially released with Windows CE 6.0 and added to Windows Vista with the release of Service Pack 1.
The main advantages of exFAT in comparison to FAT32 are the removal of the 4 GB file size limit and support for hard drives with large capacities (recommended maximum sizes for both are 512 TB). The exFAT file system driver will add the option to format removable media with the exFAT file system to take advantage of it. The file system is using a smaller disk space overhead than the NTFS file system. Users reported a disk space overhead of only 96 Kilobytes on a 4 Gigabyte flash drive after formattting it with the exFAT file system. The NTFS file system used more than 47 Megabytes of space for overhead.
Interested users can download the exFAT file system driver update directly from Microsoft to add exFAT file system support to their operating system.
The exFAT file system driver incorporates the following advanced structures to improve performance:
* A cluster bitmap for fast allocation
* A per-file contiguous bit for fast file access
* Better contiguous on-disk layout (useful for recording movies)
* Support for Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) time stamps
The exFAT file system driver is designed for extensibility to enable the file system to keep pace with innovations in storage and changes in usage and to enable OEMs and ISVs to add extensions seamlessly. Specifically, exFAT adds the following features:
* Adds template-based metadata structures to enable custom extensions
* Enables implementations to persist these extensions without having to know their format
The exFAT file system driver adds increased compatibility with flash media. This includes the following capabilities:
* Alignment of file system metadata on optimal write boundaries of the device
* Alignment of the cluster heap on optimal write boundaries of the device
The prerequisites for the update are an installation of Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.