Linked Index Allocation

A technique for categorizing material on a storage device, like a hard drive, is Linked Index Allocation. It is a variant of the indexed allocation technique, which keeps track of the locations of the data blocks using an index block.

Each data block in Linked Index Allocation includes a pointer to the location of the following data block in the file. Up until the last data block, which contains a pointer to a special value signifying the file's end, the first data block of the file contains a pointer to the second data block, the second data block contains a pointer to the third data block, and so on. As a result, a linked collection of data blocks representing the file is produced.

Implementation of Linked Index Allocation

On a hard drive, Linked Index Allocation is implemented by building a linked list of data blocks that each indicate a file. Except for the last data block, which contains a pointer to a special value designating the file's end, each data block in the file includes a pointer to the location of the next data block. The methods for implementing Linked Index Allocation on a hard drive are as follows −

  • Allocate a block to house the file's first data block. This block includes a pointer to the following block in the file as well as the data for the file's first portion.

  • Allocate a different block to house the file's second data block. This block includes a pointer to the following block in the file as well as the data for the second portion of the file.

  • Set the pointer in the first block to the position of the alternate block on the slice to connect it to the first block.

  • Up until the final block, reprise way 2 and 3 for each successive block in the train.

  • Allocate a concluding block to house the file's last data block. The data for the file's final segment is contained in this block, along with a pointer to a special value designating the file's conclusion.

The operating system begins reading the file at the first block in the linked list of data blocks and proceeds by following the pointers to succeeding blocks until it reaches the conclusion of the file.

The operating system may need to allocate new blocks and link them to the current linked list to make changes to the file, or it may just need to change the pointers in the existing blocks to represent the changes. By locating blocks that are no longer in use or that have become dispersed across the drive, the operating system must be able to manage fragmentation.

Error handling and recovery in Linked Index Allocation

To guarantee the integrity of data saved on a storage device, error handling and recovery in Linked Index Allocation is a crucial factor. In a file stored using Linked Index Allocation, several mechanisms can be used to identify and correct errors in the linked list structure.

One typical method is to examine the integrity of each block in the linked list using checksums or other error detection codes. Block errors can be flagged and replaced with backup copies of the blocks, or the complete file can be restored from a backup copy, if one is found.

Using journaling is another method, where changes to the linked list are first written to a journal or log file before being committed to the real data blocks on the disc. In the event of a system crash or power outage, this enables quick recovery because the system can replay the log to recover any unfinished transactions.

Some file systems may include file system consistency checkers that can examine the linked list structure of files and fix any errors or inconsistencies discovered (for example, fsck in Unix-based systems).


Utilizing Linked Index Allocation as a way of data organization on a storage device, such as a hard drive, has a number of benefits −

Flexibility − Since new data blocks can be added to the end of a file and linked to the preceding block, Linked Index Allocation can handle files of any size. As only the necessary quantity of space is allotted for each block, this enables efficient use of disc space.

Modification simplicity − Linked Index Allocation makes it simple to add or remove data chunks without having to completely restructure the file.

Implementation is straightforward − Linked Index Allocation is comparatively easy to use and does not require a lot of overhead or metadata to handle the file.


  • Data blocks that are dispersed across the disc can cause fragmentation in Linked Index Allocation, which can slow performance and possibly result in inefficient use of disc capacity.

  • Since each block must be accessed sequentially to follow the linked list, accessing data in a file using Linked Index Allocation can be slower than with other techniques.

  • Linked Index Allocation can result in a file's storage overhead increasing because it uses more disc space to keep pointers in each data block.


Linked index allocation is a flexible and straightforward method of file organization that enables effective use of disc space and quick file modification. However, pointers can fragment, have slower access rates, and take up more disk space. This is because pointers must be stored in each data block. As a result, the Linked Index Allocation is not frequently used as a primary file organization technique. Depending on the particular needs of the system and the kinds of files being kept, other file allocation techniques like contiguous allocation or indexed allocation may be more suitable.

Updated on: 03-May-2023


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