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I have a 120GB SD hard drive that I have put into an Oker portable USB enclosure it comes with two USB output presumably one is redundant just to get extra power.

I regularly use 3 host computers:

  • Home (Archlinux)
  • Work (Windows 7)
  • Laptop (Mac OS X 10.6)

I would like to install VirtualBox 4 on each and use the same Archlinux guest VM across all three hosts via the SSD USB drive.

Initially I though easy, format USB drive as FAT and throw the relevant VM disk file on it. But FAT32 has a 2GB (or 4GB?) file limit.

Which filesystem should I use which will be recognized by all three hosts? I appreciate that I may have to use a plugin or two, which will give me the least headaches?

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4GB is the file limit of FAT32 ( ) – Alex Aug 7 '11 at 7:26
His virtual disk file will be larger than 4GB. – Joe Internet Aug 7 '11 at 9:59

ExFAT should be accessible out of the box on all three operating systems with full read/write capabilities and none of FAT32's file size limits.

NTFS is limited to read only on Mac OS X (and I believe archlinux) without the use of NTFS-3G/FUSE software/packages.

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Exfat is supported in Snow Leopard, but beta in linux – DanBeale Aug 10 '11 at 20:29

The ntfs3g driver works very well in Linux, so while it might not be a purist solution, I would still pick NTFS over FAT variants, if I had the choise. FAT variants are just inferior to NTFS/HPFS/ETX3.

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You can use this to read/write to NTFS on the mac, and the same software can work in archlinux (see here).

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