Macintosh file system

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(n.) A logical construct with two parts, or forks, proprietary to the Mac OS. The data fork contains data that, on other operating systems, is typically stored in a file. The resource fork contains a collection of arbitrary attribute-value pairs, including program segments, icon bitmaps, and parametric values required by the Finder. Additional information regarding Macintosh files is stored by the Finder in a hidden file called the Desktop Database. It is difficult to store the different parts of a Macintosh file in other file systems that handle only consecutive data. For this reason, the data fork is often the only part sent when a file is transferred to a computer that uses another operating system. Alternatively, a Macintosh file may be converted into some other format before it is transferred.