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what's the best file system to use with windows, osx, and linux that is not fat32. I need a file system that can share large video files with good performance

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marked as duplicate by Tog, James, Kevin Panko, tapped-out, Carl B Nov 29 '13 at 3:59

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6 Answers 6

Your best bet would be NTFS as it's rather painful to install drivers under Windows for other filesystems.

Now Linux and OSX can write on NTFS filesystem. Most Linux distributions now comes with ntfs-3g which is available for OSX. As far as I remember, starting from Snow Leopard, OSX even has built-in NTFS write support.


EDIT: my answer addresses the title of your question "best filesystem for use with mutilple os"

However the body of the question can be understood in a different way? Do you want to setup a server that is going to share video files across network?

In this case, I've happily used XFS (behaved well with large files) and JFS in the past before ext4 exists -- today I would just go ext4 as it's more widespread.

Then, you would share the files on the network using Samba.

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I agree, NTFS is the best bet. –  steveha Dec 4 '09 at 7:44
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Sadly Fat32 would be most universal, to improve performance you might want to consider using RAID striping. Although this doesn't help the poor performance associated with too many files in any one directory.

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FAT32 has a 4GB limit on file size, not the best for large video files. –  steveha Dec 4 '09 at 7:38
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Sorry... but there's no such thing

NTFS is usable in Linux; but certainly far from optimal (the best ones run on FUSE).

there's ext2 for windows; but needs some extensions and configurations.

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As @Gregory already said, NTFS is probably your best bet. Thanks to FUSE, most Linux distros will just work with NTFS. You will see the CPU get a bit busier under FUSE/Linux than under Windows, but on the other hand with modern dual-core or quad-core CPUs you can spare the cycles.

Other than that, you could try ext3. You can get ext3 drivers for Windows; you can't boot from them, but they will let you use ext3 file systems. But I have not tried these, and I have read conflicting reports... some people said they work fine, other people said they are unstable.

Finally, your other option is just to build a server, throw Linux on the server, and use whatever file system you like; then pull up the files over the network. If you use gigabit network cards and CAT 6 cable, you will get excellent throughput, and you know it will just work from any computer on your home network: Windows, Mac, Linux, whatever. You could even use Linux softare RAID to do a RAID 0 for performance, or RAID 1+0 for safety and performance, or whatever.

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A slightly different idea: buy a NAS. Almost all of them use SMB which works very well under all major OSes. Some of these devices are very fast too; for example you can attach them using gigabit Ethernet or iSCSI.

This induces additional cost though.

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How are you intending to share the files?

If you are plugging directly into the SATA connections, NTFS might be the most useful because all the computers you listed can read it. This will get you the fastest file access, but would be a royal pain going from computer to computer.

If you are carrying the disk from computer to computer and connecting with a USB, it won't matter much as the USB won't be as fast as the disk itself could go, and choosing an FS for speed won't buy you much. In this case, FAT32 may be a reasonable choice, but NTFS would be okay.

If you are putting the disk on the network, then the actual FS format matters little as you can export it with NFS or SMB or whatever else you want it to look like. What matters here is you have a 1Gig ethernet connection. This ethernet connection will still be slower than the disks, but faster than USB2 conenctions. I find this works pretty well for my video projects.

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