Best Filesystem for an External Disk
Posted 07 July 2008 - 11:24 AM
My first thought was ext2, since there's OS X and Windows support for it, although you have to install a filesystem driver. So, I formatted the disk as ext2. It works fine under Linux and Windows, but OS X wants to do a full fsck every time the drive is plugged in. That takes too long with a 500 GB disk.
I know FAT32 will work under all three OSes with no additional driver files, but it's not really meant for 500 GB disks (even though Linux will format them). Also, it doesn't support files larger than 4 GB, which I actually have quite a few of (DVD images, virtual machine backups, etc).
I've thought about HFS+, but I don't know about its stability under Linux, since most online resources recommended disabling journaling. Also the Windows drivers for HFS+ are purchase-type software.
The external drive will mostly be used with my personally-owned machines, which is why I don't mind installing drivers. But there's also the chance I'll need to use it with a school-owned computer or someone else's computer. In the past, when I only had to worry about Windows-Linux interoperability, I just placed a 50 MB partition at the front of the drive, formatted under FAT32, which contained the Windows ext2 drivers. But the OS X slugishness is deterring me from ext2.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 12:08 PM
Posted 07 July 2008 - 12:13 PM
Posted 07 July 2008 - 12:20 PM
I've never used ext2 on an external but it doesn't sound like fun.
Posted 07 July 2008 - 03:50 PM
Just a note, you should have a kernel of version 2.6.20 or greater, according to the error message I received when mounting the disk under Debian Etch (2.6.18 kernel). The disk will still mount, but there's a warning about making sure that ntfs-g3 is actually terminated after umounting the disk. Support under Mac OS X 10.5 is fine.
And no, external drives with ext2 aren't fun. I'm glad that *nix NTFS support is mature enough to be stable nowadays.
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