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High-Performance File System (HPFS)

Definition - What does High-Performance File System (HPFS) mean?

The high-performance file system (HPFS) is a file system designed especially for the IBM OS/2. It is known for handling large files of up to 2 GB across multiple hard disks, as well as for handling long file names of up to 256 bytes. HPFS was designed to improve on the weaknesses of the file allocation table file system.

Techopedia explains High-Performance File System (HPFS)

HPFS avoided several MS DOS limitations, especially the eight-character computer file name restriction. The program runs on the same machine as the MS-DOS file system and file allocation table, or may run independently.

The advantages of HPFS include:

  • Contiguous storage
  • Separate date stamps for file creation and last access and modification
  • Less file fragmentation
  • Smaller cluster size
  • Support for storage devices of up to 512 GB
  • Faster disk operation and file access of the root directory at the midpoint of the disk rather than the beginning

The advantages of HPFS include:

  • Requires more system memory
  • Requires disk partitions not recognized by MS-DOS, which prevents a computer from booting from a floppy disk
  • Requires a special utility (Partition Magic from PowerQuest) to access the HPFS partition

IBM agreed to collaborate with Microsoft so that both have rights to Windows and OS/2 technology. However, Microsoft still retains the rights to OS/2 technology and HPFS.

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