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The File Allocation Table (FAT) filesystem was originally created for use with MS-DOS (and later pre-NT Microsoft Windows); currently a late version of FAT (FAT32) is used for USB flash disks.[1] It has made its way over to Linux systems and has official support in the Linux kernel.



File systems  --->
   DOS/FAT/NT Filesystems  --->
      < > MSDOS fs support
      <*> VFAT (Windows-95) fs support
      (437) Default codepage for FAT
      (iso8859-1) Default iocharset for FAT
      [ ]   Enable FAT UTF-8 option by default
   -*- Native language support  --->
      (iso8859-1) Default NLS Option
      <*>   Codepage 437 (United States, Canada)
      <*>   NLS ISO 8859-1  (Latin 1; Western European Languages)
      -*-   NLS UTF-8

When planning on mounting FAT partitions, users may need to specify a codepage= option with mount. In the example above the codepage for the United States and Canada is used, however other codepages can be enabled a necessary. Optionally, users can also set a default codepage for FAT in the kernel configuration. Be sure each codepage value to be used is enabled in the Kernel.

Using the codepage option via the mount will override the settings used in the kernel.

Avoid setting Default iocharset for fat to UTF-8; it is not recommended. Instead, pass the utf8=true option when mounting FAT partitions (this requires CONFIG_NLS_UTF8 to be enabled in the kernel. For further information see man 8 mount or see the appropriate kernel documentation at /usr/src/linux/Documentation/filesystems/vfat.txt


The sys-fs/dosfstools package is needed for FAT userspace utilities:

root #emerge --ask sys-fs/dosfstools


It should be possible to mount FAT filesystems with the mount command.



root #emerge --ask --unmerge sys-fs/dosfstools


Slow file transfer speeds

If file transfer speeds are slow, try remounting the filesystem with the flush mount option. flush can be a stark contrast to the sync mount option:

root #mount -o remount,flush /path/to/mountpoint

See also

  • ext4 — an open source disk filesystem and most recent version of the extended series of filesystems. ext4 is the most popular Linux filesystem.
  • btrfs — a copy-on-write (CoW) filesystem for Linux aimed at implementing advanced features while focusing on fault tolerance, repair, and easy administration.
  • filesystem — a means to organize data expected to be retained after a program terminates by providing procedures to store, retrieve, and update data as well as manage the available space on the device(s) which contain it.
  • mount — the attaching of an additional filesystem to the currently accessible filesystem of a computer.
  • removable media — consists of any media that is easily removed from a system
  • fstab — a configuration file that is used to configure how and where the main filesystems are to be mounted, especially at boot time.

External resources

  • /usr/src/linux/Documentation/filesystems/vfat.txt - Documentation on the VFAT filesystem included with the Linux kernel sources.
  • FAT filesystem and Linux - from Wikipedia
  • FAT - from the Arch Linux wiki