Daniel Beer

19 Jun 2015

uFAT is small but feature-complete VFAT/FAT32 implementation. It supports all basic filesystem operations and has minimal memory requirements. Its key features are:

This project was originally developed as part of a U-Boot modification, and is therefore GPL-licenced.

Obtain the source from Github.

Using uFAT as a library

The interface to the underlying block device is abstract and specified though a structure containing some key parameters and access functions:

typedef unsigned long long ufat_block_t;

struct ufat_device {
        unsigned int    log2_block_size;
        int             (*read)(const struct ufat_device *dev,
                                ufat_block_t start, ufat_block_t count,
                                unsigned char *buffer);
        int             (*write)(const struct ufat_device *dev,
                                 ufat_block_t start, ufat_block_t count,
                                 const unsigned char *buffer);

A pointer to the struct ufat_device is passed with each call to read or write, so driver-private data can be kept by embedding the structure in a larger structure.

All ufat_block_t arguments are block indices relative to the beginning of the partition. log2_block_size should be the base-2 logarithm of the block size (that is, 1 << log2_block_size is the actual block size in bytes). Having filled out a struct ufat_device for the partition/device you want to access, use ufat_open/ufat_close to open and close the filesystem:

struct ufat_device dev;
struct ufat uf;
int err;

dev.log2_block_size = 9;
dev.read = my_read;
dev.write = my_write;

err = ufat_open(&uf, &dev);
if (err < 0) {
        fprintf(stderr, "Error: %s\n", ufat_strerror(err));
        return -1;

/* ... */


No memory is allocated when a filesystem is opened, but ufat_close must be called to flush caches if the filesystem has been modified.

There are three basic objects used by the filesystem implementation:

struct ufat_dirent

This represents a directory entry. It holds information on a file or directory and contains the location of the entry on the underlying device, attributes and file size (for regular files).

struct ufat_directory

This structure is a directory iterator. There are two ways to construct this object: either by opening the root directory, or by opening a subdirectory represented by a ufat_dirent using ufat_open_subdir. Iterating through the contents of a directory returns a series of ufat_dirent structures.

struct ufat_file

This structure represents an open file. It is constructed from a ufat_dirent via a call to ufat_open_file.

Functions for manipulating the filesystem and the associated objects are detailed in the ufat.h header file. Examples may be found in the included image-manipulation program (main.c in the source distribution).

All functions with int return types will return 0 on success or a negative error code if there is a problem with the underlying filesystem or device. These error codes can be translated into human-readable strings with ufat_strerror. Error codes are declared as values for the enum ufat_error_t.

Directories may be traversed by a series of ufat_open_subdir/ufat_dir_find calls. For cases where a full slash-separated path is known, the following function is useful:

int ufat_dir_find_path(struct ufat_directory *dir,
                       const char *path, struct ufat_dirent *inf,
                       const char **path_out);

Its arguments are:


An open directory from which to start the search. This will in most cases be the root directory, but it can be any subdirectory, and the path given will be treated as relative to the initial directory.


A slash-separated path, relative to the starting directory. Path components may be separated by either a forward-slash or a backslash. This path should be UTF-8 encoded.


A pointer to a ufat_dirent which will be filled out with the details of the file/directory found.


A pointer to the remainder of the path not processed if the file could not be found.

If an IO or filesystem error occurs, a negative error code is returned. When the given path identifies an existing file or directory, the structure pointed to inf is filled out and the function returns 0.

If the given path doesn't name an existing file or directory, 1 is returned. In this case, inf is not filled out, but the pointer pointed to by path_out will be filled out with a pointer to the remainder of path which was not processed.

In all cases, dir will be reinitialized to be an iterator for the directory where the search terminated.