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However, they may have restrictions on the use of certain special characters, disallowing them within filenames; those characters might be used to indicate a device, device type, directory prefix, file path separator, or file type.

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The physical file system interacts with the device drivers or with the channel to drive the storage device.

An example of slack space, demonstrated with 4,096-byte NTFS clusters: 100,000 files, each five bytes per file, which equal to 500,000 bytes of actual data but require 409,600,000 bytes of disk space to store File systems allocate space in a granular manner, usually multiple physical units on the device.

The file system is responsible for organizing files and directories, and keeping track of which areas of the media belong to which file and which are not being used.

For example, in Apple DOS of the early 1980s, 256-byte sectors on 140 kilobyte floppy disk used a track/sector map.

This results in unused space when a file is not an exact multiple of the allocation unit, sometimes referred to as slack space.

For a 512-byte allocation, the average unused space is 256 bytes.

Choosing an allocation size that is too small results in excessive overhead if the file system will contain mostly very large files.

File system fragmentation occurs when unused space or single files are not contiguous.

A filename (or file name) is used to identify a storage location in the file system.

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