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Cross-platform file system

Hi,

I've just bought 1TB external drive which I would like to use to move my files around between MacOS, Windows XP and linux system. What is the best way to do this? I already have Tuxera software to read/write NTFS by MacOS. But maybe exFAT is a better choice as I my MacOS 10.6.6 can use this.

Ability to read/write the HDD from Linux is of least importance, so if there is a perfect solution for MacOS & Windows, I would stay with that.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 15 '11 at 11:20

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marked as duplicate by Sathya Apr 19 '11 at 12:14

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4 Answers

use FAT32 file system because it work on all the platforms

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I used to promote FAT32, but FAT32 is now showing it's age. The biggest problem with it is it's 4GB maximum file size. If you happen to like to archive your personal DVDs or Blu-Ray, you may find this an issue. It's also does not perform as well on really large drives compared to alternatives. If portability is not an issue, you can use Ext3. Windows can read and write Ext2 or Ext3 just fine as long as a compatible Ext3 driver is loaded like the one on http://fs-driver.org/. I don't know if Mac OS X can read Ext2/3, but there might be a driver out there for it. NTFS, on the other hand is readable and writable to Mac OS X and Linux using the NTFS-3G driver, and it's native to Windows. It does not suffer from the 4GB file size limit of FAT32 and has a better design than FAT32 as well. I'm not aware of exFAT support in Linux.

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exFAT is the best choice by far if you know you'll be using at least SP3 and 10.6.6.

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Well, actually used HFS+, because:

  • it is the native for MacOS, which I use most
  • it works very well under Ubuntu
  • I got TransMac to use the partition from Windows
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