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Virtual FAT (VFAT)
When Microsoft introduced Windows 95 in, well, 1995, they made several improvements to the operating system when compared to its predecessors. One of the changes made was an enhancement to the classical FAT16 file system that had been in use up until that point. The new variation of FAT was called Virtual FAT or VFAT for short. (Note that many people use the terms "FAT" and "VFAT" interchangeably, even though they are technically not the same. All "FAT" partitions created under Windows 95 or later operating systems are really VFAT partitions.)
VFAT has several key features and improvements compared to FAT12 and FAT16:
Despite the new name and new capabilities, VFAT as a file system is basically the same as FAT. Most of the new capabilities relate to how the file system is used, and not the actual structures on the disk The only significant change in terms of actual structures is the addition of long file names. Even here, VFAT supports these using what is basically a hack, as opposed to anything really revolutionary. See the discussion of long file names for more information on how VFAT implements longer file names under Windows 9x/ME.
Note that as with FAT, much of the rest of the discussion of file systems in other subsections in this area of the site deals with VFAT.
Next: 32-Bit FAT (FAT32)