Virtual File Allocation Table (VFAT) is the part of the Windows 95 and later operating system that handles long file names, which otherwise could not be handled by the original file allocation table file allocation table (FAT) programming. A file allocation table is the means by which the operating system keeps track of where the pieces of a file are stored on a hard disk. Since the original FAT for the Disk Operating System (DOS) assumed file names were limited to a length of eight characters, a program extension was needed to handle the longer names allowed in Windows 95. Microsoft refers to this extension as a driver since other operating systems may need to install and use it in order to access FAT partitions written by Windows 95 and later Windows systems. The VFAT extension runs in protected mode, uses 32-bit code, and uses VCACHE for disk cache.