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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 08-08-2012, 10:28 AM   #1
educateme
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Post External harddrive filesystem, multi-OS


I bought an external harddrive for backing up my data. Since I am working with Linux (primarily), Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows 7 at the same time through different computers, I wanted my external harddrive to be compatible with all three operating systems. It turns out that a FAT32 filesystem reads/writes on all three, but unfortunately has a 4.2GB individual file size limit. After a couple hours of reading up on filesystems, I found out that exFAT is not supported in Linux, writing to NTFS is not supported in Mac OS X, writing to HFS+ is not supported by Windows 7, EXT4 and BTRFS are not supported outside Linux. And so my question is, does anybody know if there exists a filesystem that I overlooked that is compatible with all three operating systems, and without the file size limitation of FAT32? Many thanks in advance.
 
Old 08-08-2012, 10:51 AM   #2
Didier Spaier
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I would simply make three partitions on the external hard drive, one for each OS.

You will not optimize space on disk that way, but it's simple to manage and you will be able to preserve files ownership.
 
Old 08-08-2012, 11:11 AM   #3
moxieman99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by educateme View Post
I bought an external harddrive for backing up my data. Since I am working with Linux (primarily), Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows 7 at the same time through different computers, I wanted my external harddrive to be compatible with all three operating systems. It turns out that a FAT32 filesystem reads/writes on all three, but unfortunately has a 4.2GB individual file size limit. After a couple hours of reading up on filesystems, I found out that exFAT is not supported in Linux, writing to NTFS is not supported in Mac OS X, writing to HFS+ is not supported by Windows 7, EXT4 and BTRFS are not supported outside Linux. And so my question is, does anybody know if there exists a filesystem that I overlooked that is compatible with all three operating systems, and without the file size limitation of FAT32? Many thanks in advance.
I have found that the 4.2gig file size limit is observed more in the breach than in practice with FAT32, but maybe that's because I was only exceeding it slightly.

Are there any third party applications that allow Mac OS X to read/write to NTFS or another file system?

Figure out how often you use each operating system, and how often you will exceed 4.2 gig individual file sizes, and by how much. Choose a file system that is compatible with the two OSs you use the most and use one as stepping stone to copy the file into a partition that the third can read, or, if your 4.2 gig individual file size is rarely breached, take a chance with FAT32.
 
Old 08-08-2012, 11:55 AM   #4
414N
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You could try installing MacFuse + ntfs-3g on your Snow Leopard machine, so you can write to NTFS will all your systems.
 
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:38 PM   #5
H_TeXMeX_H
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Originally Posted by 414N View Post
You could try installing MacFuse + ntfs-3g on your Snow Leopard machine, so you can write to NTFS will all your systems.
I agree, either get NTFS working on Mac or you will have to use FAT32. To go around the size limit, just split large files. I have only 4 files that exceed the limit, and these being movies they can be split on disk and concatenated on the fly to watch them, or better yet re-encode them.
 
Old 08-08-2012, 02:34 PM   #6
jefro
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You and the others have really answered this. Either fix ntfs or use fat32 and avoid the 4G files.

Guess you could still consider exfat. I think there is a commercial driver and working beta open sourced. http://code.google.com/p/exfat/
 
  


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