I am currently dual booting linux and windows on my primary SSD which is split with Ext4 and NTFS accordingly. However, I have a secondary hard drive where I would like to place my downloads and other large files.

Ideally, I would like this hard drive to be accessible by both my linux and windows partition.

After doing some research I saw that ExFat gives the benefits of Fat32 but with less restrictions regarding file size. Obviously using a non unix disk format would mean not being able to set permissions for files but I am ok with that.

However doing some further research started to make me wonder whether linux has good drivers for ExFat since it is done over FUSE. What i would like to know is:

  • Is ExFat the best disk format to use or should I be using something else?
  • Are there any particular disadvantages i should be aware of because ExFat uses FUSE?
  • I also remember something about native ExFat drivers being leaked by Samsung recently. Is it easy to set these up on Kubuntu 12.04?

Since exFAT is still closed source and encumbered by patents I believe a better, more stable solution would be to use an NTFS partition to share data between Linux and Windows. NTFS works out of the box on Ubuntu and you can easily access the partition from most live CDs.

Even though totally feasible, I wouldn't recommend using exfat being there a more reliable alternative.

As per the leaked Samsung drivers, they have been subsequently released under GPL license (you can find them here) but in all honesty I would trust NTFS-3G better even if it's over the FUSE layer (Samsung is interested in their products, I doubt they test the code on systems/kernels other than their own).

  • What about the native exfat drivers that were released? I have heard in the past that using linux to write to NTFS drives can decrease its performance over time (Reading is fine though) - is this true? – Michael Aquilina Sep 2 '13 at 8:51
  • I updated the answer with more info regarding the samsung driver. As per NTFS performance I wouldn't worry too much if yours is just a support partition for downloads and such. A quick search for "ntfs linux performance" should dissipate all your doubts. Maybe you could just connect a NAS to your network and share with samba. – Cubiq Sep 2 '13 at 9:31

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