Every storage medium requires a file system to operate. This includes traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs), USB thumb drives, SD cards, and more. Without it, any data contained therein would be left in a completely unorganized state that is unreadable by any device.
As such, these file systems often need to be the same as the operating system of the device. For example, a hard drive installed into a computer would typically require the same file system - generally either Windows, Mac, or Linux - in order to read and write data. Likewise, an SD card inserted into an Android phone would need to have the same, Android-based operating system. While there are exceptions to this rule, it's a good point to keep in mind.
But what exactly is a file system, and how does it affect my computing:
Looking at Modern File Systems
There have been numerous file systems used throughout the age of computing. From the earliest mainframe computers to modern desktops and laptops, the file system has always been a critical means of storing and organizing data.
As mentioned earlier, file systems are generally dependent on the device's operating system. Some of the most common file systems today include:
Apart from compatibility issues, each file system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some cases, such as the limitations of the original FAT16 system, have led to permanent solutions and replacements. Others drawbacks might require short-term workarounds until the next great file system is developed.