I would like to put all my movies on an external harddrive so that I can watch them on any of my various computers (Mac, Linux, PC: all latest OSs, all 64-bit), and I would also like to be able to connect this HDD to my Asus RT-N66U router (Linux-based firmware, apparently) to be used as a network drive for the same purpose.

With this in mind, what is the best file system to use across all three platforms?

I tried ext4 using Paragon ExtFS (to make the Mac read ext4), but the throughput was dismal-- it took at least an hour to transfer a single HD movie (~1.5 GB) onto the drive. And ironically the Linux-based Asus router could not even mount the drive.

All three OSs can handle FAT32, but I don't like the 4GB file size limit. I could use exFAT, but it doesn't support hard or symbolic links.

The only other file system all three can agree on is UDF, but that's meant for CDs and DVDs.

Is it down to NTFS vs. HFS+?

I feel like it's probably possible to get any file system to work with any OS so long as you can find third-party software to make it work, but this makes me worry about throughput. Compatibility is a basic requirement, but performance is also important.

marked as duplicate by terdon, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Breakthrough, Scott, Doug Harris Jun 4 '13 at 13:38

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It is down to NTFS. Because you will find drivers for it on Windows (naturally), MacOS and Unix.

  • Yep, no HFS+ if they'd want it on a router for sure (an Asus router, that is). – nerdwaller Jun 3 '13 at 16:25
  • Linux can naturally read / write NTFS, OSX can natively read. This would be my choice as well. HFS+ Can be used across the board, but the implementation in Windows is too shaky. – Austin T French Jun 3 '13 at 17:04
  • UDF is probably faster – MarcH Dec 10 '13 at 20:10
  • 2
    @MarcH: provide your own answer if you think UDF is a better answer for the question. – akira Dec 11 '13 at 14:48

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