Microsoft licenses exFAT file system to Sony, others

By on December 10, 2009, 6:00 PM
Microsoft has announced that it is licensing its exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) file system to third parties to spread its use in computers and other electronics. Redmond will charge a flat $300,000 license fee for devices like cameras, camcorders, and digital photo frames. Companies that intend to use the format in devices like phones, PCs, and networks will have to pay a volume-based fee.

Various tech companies, including Sony, Canon, and Sanyo, are adopting the exFAT file system, and as a member of the SD Association and Memory Stick standard, SanDisk endorsed the use of the format in new extra capacity storage media. Additionally, the SD Association chose to use exFAT for the SDXC memory card specification because it "supports large volumes, large files, and better contiguous on-disk layout."

Microsoft describes exFAT as the modern version of its predecessor, FAT. Key features include support for up to 256TB of media capacity (versus FAT32's 2TB), the ability to handle more than 4,000 RAW images, 100 HD movies, or 60 hours of HD recording in a single directory, interoperability with future desktop operating systems, and it provides an extensible format, including OEM-definable parameters to customize the file system.

User Comments: 8

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treeski treeski said:

How will this affect future consume products?

poundsmack said:

it will affect future consumer products just like every other FAT upgrade. as storage capacities increase so does the need for a file system to facilitate it. the thing that worries me is that Apple said they would not support exFAT. But apple is a prideful company, though they will cave since virtually every single vendor that creates flash based devices is migrating to exFAT.

Guest said:

Don't forget the real benefit of exFAT:

Support for files > 4GB

Makes ReadyBoost extremely usable with an 8GB SDHC.

Guest said:

That doesn't sound right FAT32 supports up to 2TB Volumes not 32GB.

kimsland, Ex-TechSpotter, said:

You're right

FAT32 supports drives up to 2 terabytes in size.

NOTE: Microsoft Windows 2000 only supports FAT32 partitions up to a size of 32 GB.

I wonder if Mathew made a mistake there?

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Yep, a thoughtless mistake. I believe I misinterpreted information provided in the press release. Anyhow, I corrected it in the article -- thanks for pointing it out.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Interesting to see the price that MS is charging for this. I guess in the grand scheme that isn't that much if you are going to sell 100s of thousands of devices.

Guest said:

For the record: exFAT drivers for XP SP2/SP3, XP-64, Server 2003/Server 2003-64 here

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