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This is the final installment of my write-ups explaining the file systems. In this one, I’ll explain FAT, NTFS and HFS+.


File Allocation Table; more popular by its abbreviation FAT, is one of the most common file systems in the computing world. This file system, developed by Microsoft, has been in existence for quite a while and has seen  a few updates along the way as well, in form of FAT16 and FAT32. According to me, this is the simplest file system of all and supports file size up to 4 GB. A linked list structure is used by this and removable Medias such as SD cards and USB drives use this more often, rather than a general hard drive.

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New Technology File System is a product of Microsoft and is often termed as the next generation file system. The structure is more complex compared to FAT and starting from Windows XP, Microsoft incorporated this file system into their operating systems as well. It keeps records of all the operations and hence is known to be a journaling file system. It easily detects errors and knows the relevant recovery process as well. Some errors it can easily recover from are: Power Outage and Drive Failure. Each file size can be as much as 16 TB with NTFS, the maximum volume size being 256 TB. NTFS is not universal as FAT, however most of the operating systems provide support for this. Unlike FAT, this is suitable for the hard drives, but not for the removable Medias.

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This has been developed by Apple for the MACs. Just like NTFS, this is a journaling file system as well and it supports easy recovery in case of serious issues. Both Linux and MAC OS X operating systems are compatible with HFS+, but not Windows.

With this, I finish my 3-part series on file systems here. I hope it was entertaining and informative. If anyone reading these articles has any questions for me, feel free to shoot them through the comments section.

In a previous article, I talked about ZFS file system. It’s time to talk about the other file systems as well in this 2nd part of the 3 part series explaining different file systems. I’ll start with brtfs and cover ext4 as well.

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File System – brtfs

This is yet to be released. But, this upcoming file system for Linux distributions mainly looks at fixing many of the issues which were pretty predominant in the older ext file system series. You can call it a journaling file system as well. There are hosts of new features such as data pooling, through which you can span the file system across more than one physical hard drives. Apart from that, the maximum file and volume size is of 16 EiB. There are other features such as snapshots, nanosecond time resolution, transparent encryption, transparent compression, data deduplication as well. Linux is the sole operating system that supports brtfs as of now, however, it is considered as unstable as of yet. Many feel that with time, brtfs should be replacing ext4, the file system that I am going to cover next.

File System – ext4

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For the time being, this is the most used file system for Linux systems. This is a successor to both the earlier file systems ext2 and ext3. Different techniques have been used in this file system to improve the performance. Just like brtfs, ext4 also is a journaling file system. This is only for hard drives and hence, it doesn’t appear on the removable Medias. It can support files up to 16 TiB and volumes up to 1 EiB. With help of Ext2Read, even Windows users can get read access to the ext file systems.

If you have used ext4 or intend to use brtfs, please share your thoughts through the comments section. I’ll love to hear what you have to say.

Are you really aware what the hard drive does whenever you read a specific file from it or even when you write one to it? Thanks to the advancement of technology, it is now possible for us to store massive amounts of data which is needed for a high level of organization for preventing certain issues related to performance.

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Through usage of file systems, a hard drive can be properly organized. The operating systems themselves set up the file systems while the installation is in progress. Well, you must already be aware, but just for starters; there is more than a single file system. Through this article and the other parts as well, I’ll try to explain how some of the basic file systems work and what differences do they have between each other!


This file system is only known to the users of UNIX. This file system can support files and volumes of up to 16 Exabytes. Though ZFS is not really popular for performance, but, it provides support for numerous features such as data corruption protection, combination of the file system & advanced volume manage concepts including pooling, data de-duplication, snapshots, transparent encryption and transparent compression. For the last 8 years, this file system is being considered as stable and it is supported by Linux, Mac OS X 10.5 Server and other similar UNIX alike operating systems as well. In today’s date, ZFS is more commonly found in the enterprise environments than in the normal households.

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In the latter parts, the other file systems I have decided to cover are: NTFS, btrfs, ext4, HFS+ and FAT. If you are already into using ZFS, don’t forget to share what you like or dislike about the same. If you have decided to try ZFS out after reading this article, don’t forget to share your experience through the comments section.

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