NTFS-3G is a stable read/write NTFS driver, but it is unfortunately extremely slow compared to both NTFS on Windows, and any native Linux filesystem. Not only is the access itself very slow due to use of FUSE, NTFS-3G does not have near the capability of Windows' native NTFS driver at NTFS's fragmentation avoidance systems. (I suspect use of NTFS under NTFS-3G is the cause of so many complains about NTFS becoming fragmented, because that rarely if ever happens on Windows)

Is there any (possibly nonfree) NTFS driver for Linux that isn't extremely slow?

EDIT: Most of the loads that will be going on inside this filesystem will be VMWare, which is why reasonable performance is particularly important.

  • I see plenty of fragmented drives on windows. It's not as bad on 7, because it defrags in the background, but xp can easily get fragmented. – Joel Coehoorn Jul 8 '11 at 21:59
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    @Joel: I generally only see fragmented drives on Windows when the drive is relatively full. I see fragmented drives on Linux boxes when the drive is close to empty. Even when the drive is full, it's usually much more fragmented on Linux boxes, and the fragments that are there are smaller chunks spaced out in less efficient ways. The Windows driver has several years on the Linux implementation, and it is not reverse engineered. It's not surprising that it would perform better. – Billy ONeal Jul 8 '11 at 22:57
  • @Joel: (For that matter, the Ext4 drivers available for Windows are just as bad at dealing with that filesystem as the NTFS implementations available for POSIX) – Billy ONeal Jul 8 '11 at 23:01

looking at http://www.tuxera.com/products/ntfs-open-source/ and the stats at http://www.tuxera.com/products/tuxera-ntfs-commercial/performance/ i do not think that you can get better speed than with tuxeras stuff.

  • Is there a place to actually buy the damn thing? :) +1. – Billy ONeal Oct 27 '10 at 17:53
  • tuxera.com/community/ntfs-3g-download ... just the community version, try if that newest thing solves your problem. if not contact tuxera and just ask where they hide their stuff that created that charts :) – akira Oct 27 '10 at 18:40
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    @akira: Errr.. that's ntfs-3g, which is the same slow FUSE module I described earlier, and which is the lowest graph bar in the graphs indicated at your link. – Billy ONeal Oct 28 '10 at 2:58
  • @Billy ONeal: then do the 2nd part of my comment: "if not, contact tuxera and just ask where they ihde their stuff that created that charts". – akira Oct 28 '10 at 6:10
  • From what I can tell, their own is a Mac driver. Not a Linux one. – ewanm89 Oct 28 '10 at 13:17

In my experience, OS X can extend to Linux, the Paragon NTFS driver is 2-3 times faster than NTFS3g/Tuxera. On OS X, the Paragon driver is as fast as native NTFS.


The only other ntfs driver I know of for linux is the kernel read only one, whether it's any faster at reading. Reading/writing ext2/3 volumes from windows with the appropriate IFS drivers is slow too.

As for ntfs on windows not causing fragmentation even just a fresh install of windows 7 on a 2TB ntfs volume has fragmented files. Windows fragments if it allows faster write speed, that is how it's designed.

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    ALL reasonable filesystems have fragmented files. Allowing files to fragment is required to have a performant filesystem. EXT3 and EXT4 fragment too -- just because no tool exists to deal with the problem doesn't mean it does not exist. There's no reason NTFS has to be slow -- it's slow mainly as a result of running on top of FUSE. – Billy ONeal Oct 27 '10 at 17:49
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    I don't want to enter the flame war on FUSE or not-FUSE. However, fragmentation is much slower to happen on EXT or HFS (for Mac) than on NTFS. So fragmentation is a non-problem for many Mac or Linux users. HFS+ is even defragmenting on-the-fly and transparently files when necessary. Only Windows require defragmentation tools to be run manually, which is a bad design in the first place. – Huygens Oct 27 '10 at 21:55
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    @Huygens: Fragmentation is not a problem for Windows users either. Only when using third party NTFS drivers do I have problems. They seem to be less intelligent w.r.t. how they allocate space when dealing with large files like VMWare images. (This is probably partially because there's no POSIX standard for sparse files) – Billy ONeal Oct 28 '10 at 3:00
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    @Billy has this been improved in Vista or 7? I only have Windows at work and it's still XP which suffers a lot from fragmentation. – Huygens Oct 28 '10 at 20:28
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    @Huygens: The defragmenters I use are freeware or even open source, and just give a list of fragmented files and how many fragments they are in. Even windows 7 fragments heavily. – ewanm89 Oct 29 '10 at 3:16

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