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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.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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