Essay: Slacking in FAT32 File System

Essay: Slacking in FAT32 File System
12/04/2011 Comments Off on Essay: Slacking in FAT32 File System Academic Papers on Information Technology,Sample Academic Papers admin

Sample Essay

One of the most prominent issues that occur on the FAT32 file system and its predecessors is slacking. Slacking is the wastage of space that occurs due to use of clusters for storing files. This results in significant amount of space being transparent to the user. Though space also disappears due to lost clusters, which are clusters marked as used in the file allocation table but they are not linked to any files, slacking results in wasted space due to the fact that a cluster is the minimum amount of space that is allocated to a file. That means that even if the file is only one byte, it will still use the whole cluster. This means that the larger the cluster size, the more space will be wasted.  This waste of storage space, due to the space left at the end of the last cluster allocated to the file, is called slack. This slack depends on the size of the cluster and the number of files present on the partition. The larger the cluster size, the more space will be wasted. Similarly, the more files on the partition, the more space will disappear.

In FAT file systems, including FAT32, there is always a tradeoff between wasted space and performance. A large amount of cluster size results in wasted space on the hard disk while the small cluster size results in the tremendous size of file allocation table resulting in a severe reduction in performance. Therefore it is always wise to think about the options in hand when the hard disk is being partitioned and formatted. A simple solution is a mediation, which results in a compromise on both performance and space but results in a constant stable performance (Kozierok).


The FAT32 file system itself does not support any encryption. The reason for this is that by the time Microsoft designed FAT32 file system; NTFS had already gained much popularity among the corporate and business customers, who needed security more than anybody else. Therefore, in order to keep it simple and fast, Microsoft did not put an option of encrypting data, so that the file system does not become more demanding (Barker and Bogue).

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