File Allocation Methods in OS

October 24, 2020

The file allocation methods in OS defines how the files are stored in the disk blocks. The direct access nature of the disks gives us the flexibility to implement the files. In many cases, different files or many files are stored on the same disk. The main problem that occurs in the operating system is that how we allocate the spaces to these files so that the utilization of disk is efficient and the quick access to the file is possible. There are mainly three methods of file allocation in the disk. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Mainly a system uses one method for all files within the system.

Contiguous Allocation

  • Each file occupies a contiguous address space on disk.
  • Assigned disk address is in linear order.
  • Easy to implement.
  • External fragmentation is a major issue with this type of allocation technique.

Linked Allocation

  • Each file carries a list of links to disk blocks.
  • Directory contains link / pointer to first block of a file.
  • No external fragmentation
  • Effectively used in sequential access file.
  • Inefficient in case of direct access file.

Indexed Allocation

  • Provides solutions to problems of contiguous and linked allocation.
  • A index block is created having all pointers to files.
  • Each file has its own index block which stores the addresses of disk space occupied by the file.
  • Directory contains the addresses of index blocks of files.
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