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I have just bought an external USB hard drive that I want to use for some backup purposes on Linux and to exchange some data/files with friends/colleagues using either Windows/OSX/Linux.

Thus I will have one patition formatted with a typical Linux filesystem (let's say ext3 for a good Linux compatibility).

What would you recommand for the second partition meant for exchanging files with friends/colleagues ? FAT32 is one solution but it is old and has some limitations. I would like to know if there are better alternatives that can be used out of the box with the three main OSes (I know that we can install ext3 support on Windows for instance, but that is not what I call out of the box).

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Use NTFS, all of them support it. (Well, support varies on different Linux distros and OSX versions.)

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