ruk·si

Filesystem Types

Updated at 2013-02-24 13:56

This note is about different filesystem types in desktop operating systems.

General purpose USB memory sticks should be made FAT32 so all operating systems can natively write and read from them.

  • FAT32:
    • Works natively on Mac, Windows and Linux.
    • No journaling.
    • 2 terabyte maximum partition size.
    • 4 gigabyte maximum file size.
  • ExFAT:
    • Closed specifications, buggy reverse-engineered implementations.
    • Missing all modern filesystem features.
    • Not good Linux support.
  • NTFS:
    • Works natively on Windows.
    • Read-only works natively on Mac and Linux, but writing requires third party applications.
    • Slow writing performance on Mac and Linux.
    • Third party applications tend to be outdated and cost money.
  • EXT4 / EXT3 / EXT2:
    • Works natively on Linux.
    • Accessing on Windows and Mac requires third party applications.
    • Third party applications tend to be outdated and cost money.
  • HFS:
    • Works natively on Mac.
    • Accessing on Linux requires disabling journaling.
    • Reading on Windows requires third party applications.