I am looking to move my Mavericks (OS X 10.9) home dir to a exFAT partition. (Why is not important right now - I am just looking for technical info.) Are there known limitations to doing this? If so, what are they?

  • If you're going to downvote, I'd appreciate some constructive criticism about how to make the question better - thanks. – Conrad Apr 5 '14 at 15:49

I think it would work. The Mac OS Extended FS allows the saving of some attributes, but I don't think those are required for a home directory.

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  • I will try it and report back. – Conrad Apr 5 '14 at 18:03
  • I created an exFAT partition and started copying some sample files from my home dir to see what would happen. Very shortly into the process, the partition became corrupted and was unrepairable by Disk Utility. I think that ends the experiment! If exFAT is that fragile in OS X, I can't have it as the FS for anything remotely serious. – Conrad Apr 7 '14 at 2:01
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    Sometimes just trying it is the best way to find out if it'll work. – mlv Apr 7 '14 at 2:16

Based on my research and testing, exFAT is too buggy and fragile to use to store data. I tried to copy a large number of files from an NFS+ partition to the exFAT partition, and partition corruption occurred, which was not repairable by Disk Utility. Best to stay away from this file system in OS X.

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It will work, but not safely.

I have made 3 partitions on my MacBook Pro 2013, one for MacOS, one exFAT for data, and the least one for Windows 7 (NTFS). I tried to map the User directory of both operating systems to the same folder of exFAT Partition. It works, but sometimes (relative often), the MacOs make something with the *.txt, *.docx, *.pdf and maybe other files that they are corrupt at the end.

I have discovered, that is something related to so-called "resource fork" and attributes of the files in the Mac OS file system. For example, if I try to open the corrupted *.txt file with the editor, the content is some unreadable information and the text "This field left intentionally blank".

So, be aware of such experiments and always make backups of your important data!

@EamonnEd - I think that the reason for such behaviour is the mapped unix /user directory of Mac OS to the exFAT Drive and, maybe, the alternate access from both Mac OS and Windows 7.

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  • Can you provide some links or examples to back up your research? – Burgi Feb 29 '16 at 9:23
  • It will work, but not safely usually means It doesn't work. – Conrad Feb 29 '16 at 13:16
  • @Burgi - Some information about file systems compatibility I got from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_fork and here I can not upload the sample of corrupted file unfortenutely. May be later I ll do it with google drive. – vdalvik Mar 1 '16 at 11:33
  • @vdalvik can you add the file to somewhere safer like PasteBin? – Burgi Mar 1 '16 at 11:40
  • @Burgi - sample of corrupted file: pastebin.com/AENE7GzC – vdalvik Mar 2 '16 at 9:02

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