Updated: 04/26/2017 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 X Snow Leopard 10.6.5 and higher and Max OS X 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 systems is the capability of supporting a volume size of up to 512 TB (64 ZB is theoretically possible), whereas FAT32 allowed for only a 32 GB volume size. It can also support file sizes of up to 512 TB as well, whereas FAT32 allowed for 4 GB file sizes. 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.