FAT The FAT (File Allocation Table) file system has its origins in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was the file system supported by the Microsoft MS-DOS operating system. It was originally developed as a simple file system suitable for floppy disk drives less than 500K in size. Over time it has been enhanced to support larger and larger media. Currently there are three FAT file system types: FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32. The basic difference in these FAT sub types, and the reason for the names, is the size, in bits, of the entries in the actual FAT structure on the disk. There are 12 bits in a FAT12 FAT entry, 16 bits in a FAT16 FAT entry and 32 bits in a FAT32 FAT entry.