I'm planning on setting a dual-boot machine with Windows (8.1) and Debian sitting on different partitions of an SSD.

The problem here is my 1.5TB storage drive. I'm planning to use Windows and Debian equally, so I need to format this drive in a way that it works as good as possible on both systems. There's also an additional requirement: Windows should be able to flawlessly work with user folders moved to the storage drive.

So far I'm only looking to the following options:

1) FAT32 is not actually an option, but worth mentioning for others to see, if your storage partition is 32GB or smaller than this is perfect;

2) NTFS. Both Windows and Linux can work with this filesystem, but Linux will probably show very high CPU usage while working with NTFS partitions;

3) Ext4 seems to be the best option, but I can't find any info about how well does Windows handle it. Ext2sd, as well as Paragon software, don't have any information on performance, I'm afraid of it being worse than NTFS in Linux. Also I have no idea how well does it combine with Windows user folders.

Are there any other options I've overlooked? Perhaps, NTFS isn't that bad on a fairly powerful machine? Is EXT4 perfect for this scenario, or it's going to a huge pain to make it work decently on Windows?

  • "Linux will probably show very high CPU usage while working with NTFS partitions" Why do you say this? Windows has zero support for Ext4 which means you would have to use third-party software to add that support. – Ramhound Jan 7 '15 at 15:51
  • Consider running one OS native and the other in a virtual machine as a far more useful alternative to dual booting. You can use both at once or switch far more easily, and also share files from one to the other. – JamesRyan Jan 7 '15 at 16:06

You can't use EXT4 for Windows based systems, you will need to partition the drive into 2 or more partitions, Windows will install on NTFS partitions, these will be created during the installation process, at that time you can specify the size of the partition at the time of install. Linux install after Windows installation will look at the current configuration of the drive and suggest either replacing Windows or install "alongside" Windows, when you choose that option Linux will take available space and create their own partition type, default is EXT4 but you can change that type to BTRFS or other type at the time of installation.

Hope this helps

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