I tried creating a veracrypt volume and I assigned 10gb to it. The tutorial I saw on veracrypt had the file system option as FAT, however exFAT was automatically selected as my option when I was creating the volume. Does anyone know why this happened and Would this cause any problems for me when I try to access my volume?

  • 1
    This is more of a tool-use question than a security question. Migrating.
    – schroeder
    Sep 18, 2016 at 21:24
  • Anyone willing to help me out here?
    – stan
    Sep 18, 2016 at 23:13
  • 1
    If you only use Windows to access that volume, I'd prefer NTFS. Sep 19, 2016 at 9:11
  • @CodesInChaos how about if using macOS and windows?
    – stevec
    Mar 12, 2021 at 5:22
  • Always you are allowed to reformat the encrypted drive/container to other file system.
    – pbies
    Mar 17, 2021 at 17:07

2 Answers 2


VeraCrypt is only incidental for this question, which is really about the differences between file-system formats.

In a nutshell, the main usage points that one can use when deciding on the format are:

  • FAT32: Best performance on small storage volumes and almost universally supported, but the most limited. Maximum volume size is 2 TB, maximum file size is 4 GB (or 2 GB).
  • ExFAT: Best performance on small-large sized storage volumes but low performance on storage volumes with large amounts of files and data, almost universally supported.
  • NTFS: Best performance on storage volumes of all sizes with any amount of files and data, Windows only.
  • EXT : Best for Linux-only systems.
  • HFS Plus : Best for MacOS-only systems.

When creating a volume, you are being asked if you want to store files larger than 4GB or less than 4GB. Go with larger than 4GB option. This option is the option that determines the types of file systems you will be then presented. So just choose to use files above 4GB and then you will be able to select a file system that definitely works with large files (unlike the old FAT).

  • 2
    thanks for replying, so you are saying exFAT is better for larger files than the old FAT system?
    – stan
    Sep 19, 2016 at 8:09
  • 3
    exFAT (aka FAT64) was designed to overcome the limitations of the old FAT32, one of which is the maximum file size. So it's a matter of support. On exFAT, you will be able to use any currently possible file size, on the old FAT you are limited to 4GB file size.
    – Overmind
    Sep 19, 2016 at 9:06
  • Why use exFAT instead of NTFS, can NTFS not be used on certain device sizes or something?
    – user324747
    May 17, 2020 at 1:07
  • Yes, there are situations where you may want to use ExFAT. For example, although it’s a proprietary Microsoft technology, Apple licensed it for use in its OSes so you’ll see it as an option when formatting a drive in OS X. For swapping or sharing large files, especially between OSes, exFAT is the way to go.
    – Overmind
    May 18, 2020 at 5:19
  • @Overmind are there any real alternatives if the user wants compatibility with both macOS and Windows?
    – stevec
    Mar 12, 2021 at 5:24

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