File Servers
Lesson 2


By Sai Kurada
August 29, 2023
A file system is a crucial component of any operating system that manages how data is stored, organized, and retrieved on a storage medium, such as a hard drive or SSD. It provides a logical structure for files and directories and controls how they are accessed by users and applications.
Here's an overview of key concepts related to file systems:

1. Hierarchy:
A file system organizes data in a hierarchical structure, typically represented as a tree. At the top level is the root directory, which contains subdirectories and files. Subdirectories can, in turn, contain further subdirectories or files.

2. Files and Directories:
· Files: These are units of data storage. They can be documents, images, programs, etc. Each file is identified by a unique name within its directory.
· Directories (Folders): These are containers used to organize files. They can contain both files and subdirectories. Directories themselves are also treated as files in the file system.

3. File Naming and Extensions:
· File names are used to identify and access files. These names can be composed of letters, numbers, and special characters.
· Some file systems, like Windows, use file extensions (e.g., .txt for text files, .jpg for image files) to indicate the file type and associate it with specific applications.

4. File Attributes:
Files can have various attributes like read, write, execute permissions, creation date, modification date, etc. These attributes control who can access or modify a file.

5. File Paths:
File systems use paths to locate and access files and directories. There are two types of paths:
· Absolute Paths: Start from the root directory and specify the full path to a file or directory.
· Relative Paths: Are specified relative to the current working directory.

6. File System Types:
Different operating systems support various file system types. Some common ones include:
· NTFS (New Technology File System): Used by modern versions of Windows.
· FAT/FAT32/exFAT (File Allocation Table): Used by Windows for smaller drives and removable media.
· ext2/ext3/ext4 (Extended File System): Commonly used by Linux and Unix-like systems.
· APFS (Apple File System): Default file system for macOS.

7. Formatting:
When you format a storage medium (like a hard drive or SSD), you prepare it to use a specific file system. This process creates the necessary structures and metadata for the file system to function.

8. Disk Partitions:
A physical disk can be divided into partitions, each of which can have its own file system. This allows you to separate different types of data or use different file systems on the same disk.

9. Volume Management:
Volumes are logical storage units that can span one or more physical disks or partitions. They're often used to provide more flexible storage options and allow for advanced features like RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) and logical volume management.

10. File System Operations:
Common operations include creating, deleting, moving, copying, and renaming files and directories. File systems also handle reading from and writing to files.


Understanding file systems is essential for effectively managing data on a computer or server. Different operating systems and applications may have specific requirements or recommendations for the type of file system to use based on factors like performance, security, and compatibility.