Linux supports several filesystem types (as does Windows, BTW), but the fsck
commands are able to identify the type, usually, on their own.
You should use a "journaling" filesystem... that is, ext3
, which is actually upward-compatible with ext2
so that you don't have to reformat anything. This will allow the system to recover much faster if a squirrel electrocutes himself on a local light-pole (as actually did happen
to one of my customers yesterday .. the squirrel, not the customer.
Defragmentation is generally not necessary. You needed to do that with FAT but you don't with a Linux filesystem (or NTFS for that matter).