Linux Support For Microsoft's exFAT File-System
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 1 February 2009 at 10:25 AM EST. 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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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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