Updated: 12/31/2022 by Computer Hope

Short for Extended File Allocation Table, exFAT is a file system designed and used by flash drives. It was developed by Microsoft and originally released in November 2006. Windows XP and Server 2003 are capable of supporting it with a Windows update (KB955704), while Windows Vista SP1, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 can support it out of the box. MacOS Snow Leopard 10.6.5 and higher and macOS Lion can also support the exFAT file system. At this time, no support is available for other operating systems.

One key advantage of exFAT over other FAT (file allocation table) file systems is the capability of supporting a volume size of up to 512 TB (64 ZB (zettabyte) is theoretically possible). By comparison, FAT32 allows only a 32 GB volume size. It can also support file sizes of up to 512 TB, whereas FAT32 allows a maximum file size of 4 GB. Other advantages include support for UTC timestamps, access control lists, and the implementation of a free space bitmap, which improves performance of free space allocation and deletion.

Computer abbreviations, FAT, Hard drive terms, Operating system terms