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To use the vfat filesystem, use the filesystem type 'vfat'. i.e.
mount -t vfat /dev/fd0 /mnt
No special partition formatter is required. mkdosfs will work fine
if you want to format from within Linux.
umask=### -- The permission mask (for files and directories, see umask(1)).
The default is the umask of current process.
dmask=### -- The permission mask for the directory.
The default is the umask of current process.
fmask=### -- The permission mask for files.
The default is the umask of current process.
allow_utime=### -- This option controls the permission check of mtime/atime.
20 - If current process is in group of file's group ID,
you can change timestamp.
2 - Other users can change timestamp.
The default is set from `dmask' option. (If the directory is
writable, utime(2) is also allowed. I.e. ~dmask & 022)
Normally utime(2) checks current process is owner of
the file, or it has CAP_FOWNER capability. But FAT
filesystem doesn't have uid/gid on disk, so normal
check is too unflexible. With this option you can
relax it.
codepage=### -- Sets the codepage number for converting to shortname
characters on FAT filesystem.
By default, FAT_DEFAULT_CODEPAGE setting is used.
iocharset=name -- Character set to use for converting between the
encoding is used for user visible filename and 16 bit
Unicode characters. Long filenames are stored on disk
in Unicode format, but Unix for the most part doesn't
know how to deal with Unicode.
By default, FAT_DEFAULT_IOCHARSET setting is used.
There is also an option of doing UTF-8 translations
with the utf8 option.
NOTE: "iocharset=utf8" is not recommended. If unsure,
you should consider the following option instead.
utf8=<bool> -- UTF-8 is the filesystem safe version of Unicode that
is used by the console. It can be enabled for the
filesystem with this option. If 'uni_xlate' gets set,
UTF-8 gets disabled.
uni_xlate=<bool> -- Translate unhandled Unicode characters to special
escaped sequences. This would let you backup and
restore filenames that are created with any Unicode
characters. Until Linux supports Unicode for real,
this gives you an alternative. Without this option,
a '?' is used when no translation is possible. The
escape character is ':' because it is otherwise
illegal on the vfat filesystem. The escape sequence
that gets used is ':' and the four digits of hexadecimal
nonumtail=<bool> -- When creating 8.3 aliases, normally the alias will
end in '~1' or tilde followed by some number. If this
option is set, then if the filename is
"longfilename.txt" and "longfile.txt" does not
currently exist in the directory, 'longfile.txt' will
be the short alias instead of 'longfi~1.txt'.
usefree -- Use the "free clusters" value stored on FSINFO. It'll
be used to determine number of free clusters without
scanning disk. But it's not used by default, because
recent Windows don't update it correctly in some
case. If you are sure the "free clusters" on FSINFO is
correct, by this option you can avoid scanning disk.
quiet -- Stops printing certain warning messages.
check=s|r|n -- Case sensitivity checking setting.
s: strict, case sensitive
r: relaxed, case insensitive
n: normal, default setting, currently case insensitive
-- Shortname display/create setting.
lower: convert to lowercase for display,
emulate the Windows 95 rule for create.
win95: emulate the Windows 95 rule for display/create.
winnt: emulate the Windows NT rule for display/create.
mixed: emulate the Windows NT rule for display,
emulate the Windows 95 rule for create.
Default setting is `lower'.
tz=UTC -- Interpret timestamps as UTC rather than local time.
This option disables the conversion of timestamps
between local time (as used by Windows on FAT) and UTC
(which Linux uses internally). This is particuluarly
useful when mounting devices (like digital cameras)
that are set to UTC in order to avoid the pitfalls of
local time.
<bool>: 0,1,yes,no,true,false
* Need to get rid of the raw scanning stuff. Instead, always use
a get next directory entry approach. The only thing left that uses
raw scanning is the directory renaming code.
* vfat_valid_longname does not properly checked reserved names.
* When a volume name is the same as a directory name in the root
directory of the filesystem, the directory name sometimes shows
up as an empty file.
* autoconv option does not work correctly.
If you have trouble with the VFAT filesystem, mail bug reports to Please specify the filename
and the operation that gave you trouble.
If you plan to make any modifications to the vfat filesystem, please
get the test suite that comes with the vfat distribution at
This tests quite a few parts of the vfat filesystem and additional
tests for new features or untested features would be appreciated.
(This documentation was provided by Galen C. Hunt <>
and lightly annotated by Gordon Chaffee).
This document presents a very rough, technical overview of my
knowledge of the extended FAT file system used in Windows NT 3.5 and
Windows 95. I don't guarantee that any of the following is correct,
but it appears to be so.
The extended FAT file system is almost identical to the FAT
file system used in DOS versions up to and including 6.223410239847
:-). The significant change has been the addition of long file names.
These names support up to 255 characters including spaces and lower
case characters as opposed to the traditional 8.3 short names.
Here is the description of the traditional FAT entry in the current
Windows 95 filesystem:
struct directory { // Short 8.3 names
unsigned char name[8]; // file name
unsigned char ext[3]; // file extension
unsigned char attr; // attribute byte
unsigned char lcase; // Case for base and extension
unsigned char ctime_ms; // Creation time, milliseconds
unsigned char ctime[2]; // Creation time
unsigned char cdate[2]; // Creation date
unsigned char adate[2]; // Last access date
unsigned char reserved[2]; // reserved values (ignored)
unsigned char time[2]; // time stamp
unsigned char date[2]; // date stamp
unsigned char start[2]; // starting cluster number
unsigned char size[4]; // size of the file
The lcase field specifies if the base and/or the extension of an 8.3
name should be capitalized. This field does not seem to be used by
Windows 95 but it is used by Windows NT. The case of filenames is not
completely compatible from Windows NT to Windows 95. It is not completely
compatible in the reverse direction, however. Filenames that fit in
the 8.3 namespace and are written on Windows NT to be lowercase will
show up as uppercase on Windows 95.
Note that the "start" and "size" values are actually little
endian integer values. The descriptions of the fields in this
structure are public knowledge and can be found elsewhere.
With the extended FAT system, Microsoft has inserted extra
directory entries for any files with extended names. (Any name which
legally fits within the old 8.3 encoding scheme does not have extra
entries.) I call these extra entries slots. Basically, a slot is a
specially formatted directory entry which holds up to 13 characters of
a file's extended name. Think of slots as additional labeling for the
directory entry of the file to which they correspond. Microsoft
prefers to refer to the 8.3 entry for a file as its alias and the
extended slot directory entries as the file name.
The C structure for a slot directory entry follows:
struct slot { // Up to 13 characters of a long name
unsigned char id; // sequence number for slot
unsigned char name0_4[10]; // first 5 characters in name
unsigned char attr; // attribute byte
unsigned char reserved; // always 0
unsigned char alias_checksum; // checksum for 8.3 alias
unsigned char name5_10[12]; // 6 more characters in name
unsigned char start[2]; // starting cluster number
unsigned char name11_12[4]; // last 2 characters in name
If the layout of the slots looks a little odd, it's only
because of Microsoft's efforts to maintain compatibility with old
software. The slots must be disguised to prevent old software from
panicking. To this end, a number of measures are taken:
1) The attribute byte for a slot directory entry is always set
to 0x0f. This corresponds to an old directory entry with
attributes of "hidden", "system", "read-only", and "volume
label". Most old software will ignore any directory
entries with the "volume label" bit set. Real volume label
entries don't have the other three bits set.
2) The starting cluster is always set to 0, an impossible
value for a DOS file.
Because the extended FAT system is backward compatible, it is
possible for old software to modify directory entries. Measures must
be taken to ensure the validity of slots. An extended FAT system can
verify that a slot does in fact belong to an 8.3 directory entry by
the following:
1) Positioning. Slots for a file always immediately proceed
their corresponding 8.3 directory entry. In addition, each
slot has an id which marks its order in the extended file
name. Here is a very abbreviated view of an 8.3 directory
entry and its corresponding long name slots for the file
"My Big File.Extension which is long":
<proceeding files...>
<slot #3, id = 0x43, characters = "h is long">
<slot #2, id = 0x02, characters = "xtension whic">
<slot #1, id = 0x01, characters = "My Big File.E">
<directory entry, name = "MYBIGFIL.EXT">
Note that the slots are stored from last to first. Slots
are numbered from 1 to N. The Nth slot is or'ed with 0x40
to mark it as the last one.
2) Checksum. Each slot has an "alias_checksum" value. The
checksum is calculated from the 8.3 name using the
following algorithm:
for (sum = i = 0; i < 11; i++) {
sum = (((sum&1)<<7)|((sum&0xfe)>>1)) + name[i]
3) If there is free space in the final slot, a Unicode NULL (0x0000)
is stored after the final character. After that, all unused
characters in the final slot are set to Unicode 0xFFFF.
Finally, note that the extended name is stored in Unicode. Each Unicode
character takes two bytes.