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Linux Support For Microsoft's exFAT File-System

Linux Kernel

Published on 01 February 2009 10:25 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
22 Comments

Introduced in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and then last week as a Windows XP update was exFAT. exFAT, or the Extended File Allocation Table, is Microsoft's new file-system for use on mobile devices like large USB flash drives. exFAT addresses the file-size and partition size limitations of Microsoft's FAT32 file-system and brings other improvements to the table as well, albeit it's proprietary. No read or write support for exFAT has yet to enter the mainline Linux kernel, but a set of read-only patches have emerged.

Started by a kernel mailing list thread asking about exFAT / FAT64 support for Linux, a developer had shared he wrote his own patches. Microsoft hasn't released the technical specifications to exFAT, but he was able to reverse-engineer a Windows Vista disk image of exFAT.

This Linux exFAT support is far from perfect and there is no file-system write support, yet, but at least it's a start. Granted, if you don't have to deal with exFAT formatted media, you can use another file-system like EXT4, Tux3, or Btrfs for your high-capacity removable media.

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