What are the *real* limitations of FATX

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bengalih
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What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

Ok - so I must be totally misinterpreting all the data that's out there regarding FATX.
Especially the statement that there is a limit of 240 files/folders in any folder and thus you cannot have more than 240 game saves at any time.

As far as where I am getting my info...this seems to be the most quoted source:
https://www.epforums.org/showthread.php ... -and-notes
  1. 4GB / 4096 Megabyte 4294967296 bytes Max file size
  2. 42 characters for file names (there are also a bunch of characters not supported , accepted ones are limited to
    ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwx yz0123456789!#$%&'()-.@[]^_`{}~ (that includes spaces)
    (DVD's do not have the same limits and don't use the FATX file system)
  3. A maximum of 240 in total folder depth (thats a folder inside a folder inside a folder inside a folder up to 240)
  4. A maximum of 240 folders/files in each folder (thats a flat limit)
  5. A maximum of 4096 files/folders in a single root folder (this is the grand total of files that can be stored in any single root sub folder)
  6. Cluster sizes supported = 4 KB 8GB to 64GB, 8 KB 65GB up to 128GB partitions, 16 KB 129GB to 256GB partitions, 32 KB 257GB up to 512GB partitions, 64 KB 513GB up to 1TB partitions
  7. Save data is also under the 240 limit and if this is hit you will not be able to start any new software after as it will just boot to a black screen
I'm most confused by bullet point 4 which directly lends itself to the last bullet point regarding only 240 game saves.

I currently have a UDATA folder with about 500 folders in it.
I am also able to create a test folder and upload 4096 files to it.

So - if I am able to have over 500 folders in UDATA and over 4000 files in a folder, why is there a 240 limit on game saves?
What exactly is bullet point 4 & 5 indicating when it says a 240 file/folder limit? I don't see any such limitations at all.

thanks.
Last edited by Dan Dar3 on Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Make list numbered
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

So I'm surprised I haven't seen an answer on this yet...

No one can corroborate the FATX data from that link or explain how/why save games are limited to 240 when it is clear (from experimentation) that there doesn't appear to be a limit on the number of directories/files that can be created in TDATA/UDATA.

I'm sure I must be missing something and I can probably go and create 240+ save games, but even if it doesn't work (like the link states) I would still not understand why based on my results so far.

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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by Dan Dar3 »

Any file system has limitations coming from the way it structures data internally, practically from the highest value that can be held in the internal byte structure. They are inert in themselves, they don't DO things, they're just a structure that map the contents of the actual user data stored on disk.

That being said, if there is an unexpected behaiour in the game saves that must be coming from the file system driver / application that is reading or writing it. To prove it you can use different dashboards (XBMC4Xbox, Avalaunch etc) and create folders and files either locally or remote through FTP to test those limits.

Some of the information coming from that forum threads seem incorrect, also see:
http://free60.org/wiki/FATX
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

Dan Dar3 wrote: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:15 am Any file system has limitations coming from the way it structures data internally, practically from the highest value that can be held in the internal byte structure. They are inert in themselves, they don't DO things, they're just a structure that map the contents of the actual user data stored on disk.

That being said, if there is an unexpected behaiour in the game saves that must be coming from the file system driver / application that is reading or writing it. To prove it you can use different dashboards (XBMC4Xbox, Avalaunch etc) and create folders and files either locally or remote through FTP to test those limits.

Some of the information coming from that forum threads seem incorrect, also see:
http://free60.org/wiki/FATX
Thanks Dan. I realize/understand the generics of any file system structure and the limitations based on the byte structure. I also did see that other link and it does not outright contradict the link from my OP but the original link clearly outlines some additional limitations that the free60 link does not - so it does make me suspicious.

As my OP states I already have tried reading/writing more than 240 files/folders and don't see any limitation which leads me to believe that the link in my OP is in error when it states there is a 240 limit. However it seems that thread has been so widely referenced over the years that there is now a widely held belief there is a 240 save game limit. However I don't see too many threads which actually state anyone has met this limit.

I've gone ahead and posted in that other forum as well because the original author still seems active. I'm hoping he can shed some light on where he is getting that data from and I will post an update here if I get it.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by Rocky5 »

Only way to check is have over 240 saves and see if the kernel will let you boot a new game.

Supposedly the Xbox will resfuse to boot new games if the limit is met.

This isn’t to say the 240 folder limit is for everything else.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

Rocky5 wrote: Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:55 pm Only way to check is have over 240 saves and see if the kernel will let you boot a new game.

Supposedly the Xbox will resfuse to boot new games if the limit is met.

This isn’t to say the 240 folder limit is for everything else.
Yeah...but that experiment is pretty time consuming :)

But, assuming it does break after 240 saves...I'd be really interested in why - as the TDATA/UDATA folders can have more than 240 folders in them (presumably 4096 although I've only tested with upwards of 1000).
I would find it exceedingly hard to believe that when a game loads it not only enumerates every folder in TDATA/UDATA, but actually looks in each one for a save game. I would venture to say that is 99.9999% unlikely. So - if a game boots with 1000 folders in UDATA, it should stand to reason it could boot with 1000 save files in those folders.

Ofc, the only way to know for sure is just what you said - which is part of the reason for the thread here - to find out how many people actually have ever done this and come up against this problem. Because that post on epforums is the only place I ever read this as a definitive - most other posts seem to reference that. If it were just some Joe Shmo posting I probably wouldn't believe it, but it was posted by Zorlon who has done quite a bit of work on some games and thus I have to think there is a basis for it.

Like I said I asked over there as well so maybe I'll get an answer back from him while I await the experiences of others.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by Rocky5 »

The Xbox isn’t your typical computer, so if the limitation is in fact present it’s at the kernel level and it’s a thing MS put into the system on purpose or by mistake.


I have seen threads where folk have has issues with black screens and removing a folder from the UDATA folder fixed it. I personally haven’t had this problem as I have never had more than 200 folders in UDATA.


I will ask someone I k ow to check the folder count in his UDATA folder, as he has over 850 games on his Xbox and see if any issues.

Also like you stated it could have been a typo, could be 2400 folders, I may even test this my self if I can be bothered.


I understand where your coming from as the info does seem to contradict itself or at the very least confuse the hell out of you :lol:
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

Rocky5 wrote: Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:22 am The Xbox isn’t your typical computer, so if the limitation is in fact present it’s at the kernel level and it’s a thing MS put into the system on purpose or by mistake.


I have seen threads where folk have has issues with black screens and removing a folder from the UDATA folder fixed it. I personally haven’t had this problem as I have never had more than 200 folders in UDATA.


I will ask someone I k ow to check the folder count in his UDATA folder, as he has over 850 games on his Xbox and see if any issues.

Also like you stated it could have been a typo, could be 2400 folders, I may even test this my self if I can be bothered.


I understand where your coming from as the info does seem to contradict itself or at the very least confuse the hell out of you :lol:
Thanks Rocky - but remember it is more than just the folder count....it would have to be actual saves.

The reason I sort of stumbled upon this question is that I noticed that UnleashX will automatically create a folder in TDATA/UDATA with the title ID of every game it finds configured on your system (listed in the directory in the config.xml) - whether that game has a save or even has ever been launched.

I had loaded up Xbox Save Game Manager on my PC and it was listing like 500 games (though only actually showing save data for a handful of them). When I looked into what was going on I realized that UnleashX was creating these folders on every boot - even after I manually removed them. It was then I was like "WTF? Isn't there supposed to be a 240 folder limit here?". If this (folder) limit were true then anyone who uses UnleashX and has more than 240 games even *installed* on their box would hit this limit.

(for the record XBMC is my dash of choice...UnleashX just has a faster FTP server :) ).
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by Rocky5 »

Unleashx extracts the titleimage from the xbes on first boot, basically so your games have images.

I patched UX to stop it doing this for a couple people.

I suspect the limit in saves is due to MS, maybe due to the fact the menu system in the MSDash isn’t the fastest or greatest.

But like you said it’s not a folder limit, but a save limit.

I will need to download the save backup on emuextras FTP and see if it has over 240 saves. If it does I will transfer them over and see what happens.

How many folders can you put inside say, E:\UDATA\00000000\
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

Rocky5 wrote: Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:22 am How many folders can you put inside say, E:\UDATA\00000000\
So I've contacted headphone (over on EMU) and Zorlon (over at epforums) and still haven't heard back for any clarification especially regarding the 240 file limit. This number has been quoted everywhere - not just for save games but in terms of total file/folder limit (including by you Rocky...with all due respect :) ). But, I can't for the life of me - apart from the possible save game issue (which I have yet to see evidence of) see where this 240 limit would come from.

To answer your question above - my latest test did the following:

I scripted the creation of 300 folders with names in hex format to mirror what the actual folders look like.
I created two sets of these - one for UDATA and one for TDATA. In each set I scripted a copy of the contents of an actual game save contents (Demon Stone - not that it matters). I then copied these folders over to my xbox.

I was able to boot UX and XBMC no issues, and launch a game that previously was never launched (and therefore tdata/udata did not exist).
XBMC save game manager was also able to enumerate all 400 save games - including showing 300 duplicates of the Demon Stone data.
I then created another 4100 folders and uploaded them into one of the UDATA folders (in direct answer to your question above) - so the limit there is 4096, not 240.

I don't know why it is gnawing on me so much - I'm just a bit amazed that this 240 number has been able to be spread about so much with apparently no real proof behind it. Again, apart from the possible save game issue (which as per my tests so far I can't believe *is* an issue), why anyone would say 240 is a limit is beyond me.

Again, I may be missing some crucial and obvious point/interpretation of these limits - but until someone can explain it to me I'm stumped.

thanks.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by Rocky5 »

XBMC isn’t the app to use to see saves it just parses the folder and lists them all.

It will be individual saves, I will download the save site backup later tonight and test this out.

And the reason I have said this is an issue is because folk have had this issue and removing a few folders from E fixed it.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

Rocky5 wrote: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:21 pm XBMC isn’t the app to use to see saves it just parses the folder and lists them all.

It will be individual saves, I will download the save site backup later tonight and test this out.

And the reason I have said this is an issue is because folk have had this issue and removing a few folders from E fixed it.
I didn't just mean about the save issue, but the general comment(s) many have made that 240 files is the limit (often concerning people having ftp issues, etc...).
I am not discounting that some have had this strange save issue, but clearly outside of this I can't see where the 240 number comes from.

If you can get a hold of a save archive and repost it somewhere accessible I'd appreciate it too.

Thanks.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

So I've gotten some responses from Zorlon over at EP, but still awaiting some data from headphone over at EMU.

Based on what I have gathered so far I am beginning to thing that this may be a softmod limit/issue.
Now honestly I don't know anything about softmods or really much beyond my hard-mod X3 as it is the only OG XBox I have owned.

My understanding is that there are three ways to mod your xbox:

1) Pure soft mod - I think this is done using a save game exploit and then installing an alternate dashboard, but you continue to use the MS BIOS and a locked drive. I believe you can add a larger drive to your system as long as it is lockable.

2) TSOP - This involves flashing the original MS BIOS with an alternate/hacked BIOS. Involves some soldering (or at least connecting some wire points inside). You need to be softmodded prior to TSOP but afterwards you can launch from a hacked BIOS and put in any drive (doesn't need to be locked - depending on the BIOS you load)

3) Mod-chip - Solder a separate chip onto the board which has the ability to boot up to one or more BIOSes (including the original). Doesn't require any soft-mod before and capabilities are based on chip/BIOS, but are generally the most flexible.

I may have some slight errors in the above - but that I believe is a mostly accurate representation of the methods.
Therefore, it is entirely possible that the MS BIOS that continues to be loaded has these file limitations that isn't visible on a TSOP/hard-mod setup where an alternate BIOS is loaded.

If the alternate BIOSes do get around this, I find it a bit strange that there aren't any other symptoms/problems that occur when a system basically designed to support 240 files/folder suddenly can support more. One would think that this "side-effect" of an alternate BIOS was much more widely known and discussed...especially considering it is about 15 years down the line :)

I'm still skeptical of this since as I noted on my thread over at EP there are some games which clearly have many many more files than 240 in their directories and these games appear to run fine from HDD (note when I say fine here I mean that I have never seen a post discussing people having issues with these titles - Silent Hill 2 is one example that I found after a quick search).

But, this is my best working theory and have confirmed Zorlon uses/used a softmod. If headphone can confirm this then I think that would give a high level of probability.

I'm considering doing a softmod to my box and booting up with my X3 disabled to test this theory as well.
Rocky - it looks like you maintain a softmod method. I think I can use this relatively easy on my hard-modded box to also soft mod? If you can give me any detail on how to do this (and what it modifies) and how to easily clean it up afterwards I would be happy to try this and maybe end the mystery for all.

thanks.

p.s. - Oh one other thing I was curious about. I'm pretty sure Rocky that you have mentioned the 240 limit in other threads in the past as if you yourself have experienced it (not necessarily in save-game issues, but just in general file limitations). I also thought that I have seen you discuss alternate BIOSes that you run - so my guess is that you run a TSOP or soft-mod. Ofc you may have more than one system or a combination of them over the years. I'm curious if you can recall that you have ever experienced a limit of 240 files on a system and if you recall if it was a soft-mod or not. Because if you can claim to have seen a 240 file limit on a TSOP system that kind of blows my theory out of the water :)
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by Rocky5 »

I have never hit the 240 folder limit, I went on what others and the exact same posts you quoted stated.

Softmod patch the MS kernel, basically it’s the same as a hacked bios as they are all based off the MS kernel source that was leaked way back in 2003/4.

So a softmodded system won’t be the issue. it’s just more folk used softmods than hardmods as it was cheaper back in the day and safer.


I will do the test later tonight, on both my systems. One is TSOPPED with ind-bios 5003 and the other is using my softmod package.
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Update:
Just tested 401 saves and games still boot so there seems to be no issue for me regarding the 240 saves folder limit. I even removed some saves and loaded games that previously had a save and they create a new save file and load fine. Also XBMC is the dash im using so it boots games.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzRN8 ... zF3eUYtSDQ - 401 saves for you to test.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

Rocky5 wrote: Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:30 pm Update:
Just tested 401 saves and games still boot so there seems to be no issue for me regarding the 240 saves folder limit. I even removed some saves and loaded games that previously had a save and they create a new save file and load fine. Also XBMC is the dash im using so it boots games.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzRN8 ... zF3eUYtSDQ - 401 saves for you to test.
Thanks for the testing Rocky. I assume you did this on both the softmod and the TSOP system?
I'll give it a shot later tonight as well, but I'm sure I won't have any issues - because your results continue to mesh with what I have been stating all along - that there is no such limit that exists (at least on my Xbox).

At this point I'm hoping that headphone gets back to me with some more data and would be possibly willing to try this test again to see if his system is still affected. If so, then maybe we can figure out the difference.

I know this is not a huge thing for many people and not really sure how many are following this thread - but it just irks me that this 240 limit has circulated for so long and does not appear to be accurate on most systems (I gather this since out of all the people I have been asking I have only found two people who said they experienced it).

If anyone else is following this thread I would love your test results either on these saves or simply just the ability to create more than 240 folders/files in a single directory.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

Tested on my box using both iND 5004/M8+/X3 3294 BIOSes.
No problems at all.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by Rocky5 »

I did not test retail games in an unmodded state on my softmodded system, as I forgot to disable persistent softmod mode.

But TSOP and Softmod enabled I had no isssues.


I also have a upgraded HDD, but that shouldn’t make a difference as the E partition is the same size.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by bengalih »

Just an update - I've been in touch with headphones and I got him the same UDATA set that you and I tested with.
Here is what he states:
So, very strangely if I upload that pack to my box everything works fine.

I think there must be specific some file/folder combination which is causing the issue here. I'm guessing that there were no dashboard or emulator saves in that pack and are all just from games. I wonder about the nickname.xbn file etc. off of the top of my head - but can't quite tell what's going on here.
Our testing set actually has more data than his, but works fine - whereas his fails with more than 240.
He doesn't want to send me his set, so I'm seeing if he will do some more tests to track down the culprit.

Very strange...
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by Rocky5 »

It could be a combo of the TDATA and UDATA folders?
( since TDATA is for music, DLC and a couple game saves )

Since we are replacing just the UDATA directory the TDATA directory isn’t populated, like it normaly would be when launching games.
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Re: What are the *real* limitations of FATX

Post by kaos_engr »

bengalih,

Is there any new news on this 240 folder limit?

kaos_engr

P.S. I too had been using epforums FATX limitations when assisting others having problems FTPing to there Xbox.
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