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Old 11-04-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
Registered: Mar 2005
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Best filesystem to format USB pen drive with to be usable from Windows, Mac, Linux?

I have a USB pen drive that I'd like to format from my Linux laptop with a file system that would be accessible from Windows, Mac, and Linux. (So for example I can't format it with ext2/3/4 because when I put it into a friend's Windows laptop it won't be recognized with no extra work required.)

So what are all my options for filesystems that would work out of the box with Windows, Mac, and Linux? And out of these filesystems, which do you recommend over the others and for what reasons? (I'm more asking this question for my learning than anything else...)

Now let's say it only needed to be accessible from Linux systems - in this case, what would be the filesystem that you'd recommended for formatting the USB pen drive? When it comes to ext2/3/4, assuming you're dealing only with modern enough Linux systems that can use ext4, is there ANY reason to choose ext2 or ext3 over ext4? Are there any standard Linux filesystems that compare to ext4 and that you'd recommend?
Old 11-04-2011, 02:39 PM   #2
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The good ol' FAT32 filesystem is universally recognized and supports mixed-case (but not case-sensitive) file names. I personally find it difficult to justify reformatting the device in anything else, if your purpose is the transfer of files.

Obviously, if you need more than that ... security, file ownership, etc. ... then you might need to reformat the drive.

All three of the operating systems you mention (including Windows ...) do, in fact, support multiple file systems and the capability to automagically recognize which filesystem has been used. Of course you might have to install a file system driver that might or might not be installed by default.


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