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Old 10-09-2003, 03:48 AM   #1
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Best file system to use for compatibility with Windows

I have a new 200GB hard-drive on the way that will be here any day now. I plan on using this new drive as a storage drive for music, digital camera images, documents, bookmarks, settings, game save data, e-mail messages, backup data, and so on. If WinXP or Linux irreparably crashes on me, this storage drive (and it's mirrored backup) will contain all the data I care about.

I have two different physical drives in this machine now and I dual boot between them. Linux (for just about everything I do) and then WinXP (for things that absolutely require Windows.)

The new drive I'm getting will be hooked up to my machine externally via Firewire. (I don't need help with the external setup. I already have another drive hooked up this way and it works just fine.)

Now my question is - what is the best file system to use for compatibility between Windows XP and Linux. I require full read/write access to this drive whether I'm in Linux or WinXP. I know NTFS is out. (Even with the 2.6 kernel, write support from Linux to an NTFS partition is limited [can't create new files or directories] and Linux NTFS writing is not considered completely safe.)

I'm guessing VFAT is my only option but I thought I would ask around first.

I do have another machine laying around but I don't want to set it up as an NFS/Samba server for a few different reasons. #1. I don't want to leave the machine on 24/7. #2. I don't want to tie up that machine. I like experimenting with new things so if I turned that machine into a full time server, I wouldn't have a test bed machine any more. #3. I don't like NFS.

I have also thought about one of those Network Area Storage systems. Maybe someday, but at this point in time that idea is out too.

Does anyone have any experience with this? What solutions have you come up with?
Old 10-09-2003, 04:10 AM   #2
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How about this one:

Sorry if this leads to offtopic-ness, so I guess I'd better try and say something useful! I would just use VFAT partitions if you want both windows and Linux to see the data. I'm not sure there is a better option seeing as Linux doesn't do NTFS very well, and Windows just doesn't do anything else but FAT and NTFS natively. You might want to google for things like this but I'm not sure that this particular one does exactly what you need. It seems to be more a file copy program as opposed to something to mount ext2 filesystems.

I always like the idea of having a separate computer to serve files, but I can understand your reasons for not wanting to do it. They do suck up juice and make noise which can be a pain.

Old 10-09-2003, 10:22 PM   #3
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I posted this question in a slashdot forum that was on a similar topic. Several people responded. A couple of people pointed me to this site

It let's you mount your Linux partitions under Windows. I downloaded the program and it seems to work pretty well. I may go that route.

They also have a program that alleges compatibility between Linux and NTFS partitions?


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