Best filesystem for an external/portable harddrive?

James Wilkinson ubuntu at
Wed Jun 22 17:11:15 UTC 2005

Coming to this late (sorry).
tristan wrote:
> I set up my external USB 40Gb hard drive with Fat32 (using gparted).
> Sure it's not terribly fast but I can guarantee that it'll work on any
> other computer if needs be. I only use the drive once or twice a week
> as a backup, so the performance issues are not important.
> If I had no intention of ever connecting it to a non linux box then I'd
> probably use reiserfs.

Of course, any Unix-like filesystem has the concept of numerical "user
IDs" built right into it. Each file and directory has two numbers,
representing the user and the group. On a different install, either
you'll have different users "owning" the files, or there won't be a user
or group corresponding to the number (Fedora, for example, starts
numbers at 500, while Ubuntu starts them at 1000).

It's probably a lot easier, for removable disks that have to be
understood on random Linux installs, to use Fat32.

Of course, there's no guarantee that Linux installs will understand
Fat32 or resierfs, especially if anyone's been compiling their own


E-mail address: james | It's fair enough for a surgeon to refuse to operate on  | someone who won't stop smoking: you've got to give the
                      | anaesthetist a chance to get in there.
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