Any technology for organizing, storing, and locating data on a system or network. The file system for a computing platform defines the method by which the operating system stores, locates, and accesses files on its hard disk subsystem.
File systems usually have a hierarchical structure consisting of a series of nested directories for storing files. Each directory can contain files, other subdirectories, or both. The top of the file system is called the root, and the various directories are its branches. The file system thus forms a tree.
Graphic F-12. A hierarchical file system.
File systems include conventions for the type and the maximum number of characters that can be used to name a file. A file can be located in the file system by specifying its absolute path - that is, its path starting from the root and traversing through the directory structure until the file is reached. Using graphical user interface (GUI) or command-line tools, files can be located, copied, moved, and deleted. Microsoft Windows Explorer is an example of a GUI tool that shows the hierarchical structure of the file system on a Windows-based machine. File systems can incorporate technologies for marking files with attributes such as hidden and read-only. Some file systems allow you to compress files, and some allow you to specify file system quotas for users.
File systems can generally be classified into two types, depending on where the stored resources are located:
Examples of common file systems include the following: