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OK my question is what is the best format for a hard-drive. When I say best a mean:

  1. Compatibility with other OS other than windows.
  2. Ability for file compression and de-fragmenting.
  3. Speed and usability.
  4. Resizing and moving the partition.

it can be any thing from NTFS to fat32, just as long as it good for the above things.

Thanks in advance.

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closed as too broad by Indrek, random Mar 1 '14 at 14:46

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

do you need NATIVE compatibility or installing drivers is fine ? – mveroone Feb 26 '14 at 10:24
Preferable native. – 09stephenb Feb 26 '14 at 10:25
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Windows only supports FAT, exFAT and NTFS.

exFAT is proprietary and rarely usable in other OS, and NTFS (also proprietary) has more features than FAT (compression here from your list).

(by rarely usable I mean driver exist but are sometimes unstable as Microsoft doesn't publish the file system's specifications)

So NTFS may not fulfill all your requirements, but it's the one that is the closest to what you want.

If you really want native compatibility on both Windows and Linux, FAT is the only solution, as NTFS driver is rarely installed by default on Linux.

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I would not write off exFAT since MAC supports it, and it is much better than FAT. As explained on LifeHacker:… – Damir Kasipovic Feb 26 '14 at 10:30
Indeed, some distributions seem to have drivers, including Ubuntu. It is best suited for Flash drives though, so it may depend on what kind of storage we're talking about – mveroone Feb 26 '14 at 10:32
exFAT also doesn't support Encryption/Compression as filesystem-layer. – mveroone Feb 26 '14 at 10:33

There are many formats available. Assuming you want #1 as well as Windows, then definitely NTFS. The compatibility part of your criteria is the most important. NTFS is readable by other OS's and fits the other 3 criteria you've posted. In some cases you'll have to use a driver but ultimately you'll be able to read it.

The actual answer depends on your list of "Other OS".

Important point is that with drivers you can get more options, but it is best that you first describe what OS choices you want to be compatible to and then determine your format.

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Does this work with Linux – 09stephenb Feb 26 '14 at 10:29
Depends on distribution, but most of the time, NTFS is not natively compatible. a package install is required, see – mveroone Feb 26 '14 at 10:30
Actually, FAT32 has a file system size limit of 2 TB. The 32 GB limit was artificially introduced by Microsoft and only concerns the file system creating (aka formatting). – Daniel B Feb 26 '14 at 10:51

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