Hard Drive Format FAT32 or ?
This question gets asked in different ways, and I know that there is not a definitive answer, but here it comes again.
I use and maintain 6-8 computers for myself, family, friends, and business. They are a mixture of XP, 7, Lucid, and Maverick. My personal desktop and laptop are dual-boot, there are even straight-Ubuntu and straight-Windows machines in the mix. I am extremely diligent about keeping software up-to-date.
Also, I have at least a half-dozen loose hard drives that are used for storage and transfer. Long-term, I would like to migrate away from Windows, but that will most likely take years.
My question is how to format hard drives for maximum compatibility. It is imperative that they operate across OS and file system boundaries as much as possible.
There is a mix of documents, pictures, and music files. The drives range from 10GB to 1.5TB.
I understand that FAT32 chokes on larger drives. I seem to have experienced some of that, I think, but not consistently. NTFS works well but I feel like I am being challenged, and/or locked out, of drives due to "permissions" and "mounting" issues which remain mysterious to me, as a relative newbie.
Furthermore, Windows and Linux seem to be reluctant, sometimes, to see or read drives formatted or partitioned by the "other team" however you want to say it.
Maddeningly, these mounting and permission issues do not occur consistently, but seem to be almost random. For instance, with my dual-boot desktop, I have a dedicated 80GB hard drive for Ubuntu and 2 NTFS drives for Windows. About every third Ubuntu boot, I get an error message that one or the other NTFS drives would not mount. All these drives are relative clean and new, and I maintain them pretty well.
Long rambling monologue, my simple underlying question is what file system to use, even on large drives, for maximum compatibility across platforms.
Thanks in advance for your help and opinions.
Last edited by henry cow; January 18th, 2011 at 03:43 PM.
Athlon 64x2 - 4GB ram - dual boot - Windows 7 + 12.04
I also use and/or maintain several other computers, some pure Ubuntu.