BTRFS or EXT4?

Hi,
ATM I am trying out Garuda on a spare laptop. Not used any Linux in a few years.
When I patitioned the second drive I made it ext4 when the default was BTRFS, knowing nothing about BTRFS I stayed away from it.
As this is only a test run so to speak, when it comes to a real install is BTRFS the better format to use for what is a data Only drive (I only keep my personal files on that drive,docs, pics, music etc) ?

Thanks

BTRFS is a modern, Copy-on-Write (CoW) filesystem for Linux, aimed at implementing advanced features while also focusing on fault tolerance, repair and easy administration.

We use automatic snapshots out of the box.

While being a rolling release distro, our goal is to ensure that your system will not be left in an unbootable state after a problematic update. The BTRFS filesystem integrated with Snapper will backup the system configuration before each update. You can access recent snapshots directly from GRUB*

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My personal recommendation if you want top stability and reliability - ext4
And always keep backups of all your data on separate physical drive, better safe than sorry :wink:

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Recently I liked this answer, so I’ll recycle it :wink:

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I forgot to say that my main system will have 4 drives.
I will have the OS itself on 1 drive and the other 3 will already have data saved on them in NTFS format.

I will be able to save that data on an extrenal drive and transfer across afterwards.

So as far as secondary drives go, BTRFS or ext4?

If you want to keep it simple and benefit from bootable snapshots, use BTRFS. However, you will have to learn about BTRFS and Garuda snapshots to know what’s going on.

I tend to agree with @keybreak. @filo’s suggestion is workable. However, I already created my ext4 partitions using GParted Live before installing Garuda and simply forbade Calamares to format them during installation.

It all depends on how firm you are with Linux or willing to learn.

Btw… it’s not a good idea to permanently drive around in NTFS drives with Linux.

Translated with DeepL.

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For the drive with Garuda Linux BTRFS and for the other drives ext4.

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Luckily I have a fairly up-to-date copy of my data drive, so it wouldn’t take much to get that up to date, I was really just trying to save myself a bit of work.

I’m 69, just built a high spec system, got a new desktop for the system, so that will be an ardeous task swapping that over.
Plus I now have Covid, lol!

But yes I will just allow the install to make system drive BTRFS and the other 3 ext4 ?

@nepti what are your reasons for ext4 for the other drives please?

If you only have data on the other drives and only use Linux as your operating system, then my recommendation would be ext4 for these drives.
If you reformat the ntfs drives, please remember that you have backups of the drives - otherwise the data will be gone.

I recommend you exactly the same as @Apocalypticus wrote:

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Just beware that NTFS is native to Windows and is somewhat fragile in Linux. It is best you mount it as infrequently as possible while using Linux.

My goto is always usually Ext4, though Extt3 would do just as well if it is mainly “storage.” To me, an old fuddy-duddy, BTRFS is too new and too “slippery” for my likes. It is also no improvement over Ext for simple data storage.

But BTRFS used for the OS is a different kettle of fish, especially how Garuda configures it. That’s where it shines; CoW, compression, snapshotting, etc. Word-of-warning since you seem to have multiple drives…please ensure the bootloader is where it needs to be.

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The only reason to use Btrfs would be to take advantage of the extra features it has–for example, subvolumes, filesystem snapshots, Btrfs send/receive, transparent compression, and so on. If you don’t want to use the extra features then you may as well stick with ext4, which is known for being very reliable and may be slightly faster in certain use cases.

It isn’t clear if you have experience handling NTFS drives from Linux or not, but if not:

  • Study the mount options and be sure to get them right or you can easily break stuff. NTFS-3G - ArchWiki
  • Disable the “fast startup” feature in Windows, or every time the kernel sees those drives it will mark them dirty. What Is “Fast Startup” Mode and How to Enable or Disable It? - MiniTool
  • If it is practical, shut down Windows and start Linux from a cold boot, instead of rebooting from one to the other.
  • If you automount your NTFS drives, be sure to add the nofail mount option so you don’t wind up with an unbootable system if the drives can’t be mounted at startup.
  • Learn how to use ntfsfix.
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how would i be able to specify that during the install then?
I know which drive is which.
They are all the same size, but my main drive is a samsung, the other 3 are western digital

If I do make the swap, Garuda would be the Only OS, I’d lose windows totally.
That’s why I’m asking the details, as I want this right the first time round.
Looks as though they will be ext4 then, unless -
I intend to have a sep games drive, mostly from Steam - would that be worth making BTRFS?

I would not try setting up the extra drives during the installation process. Just select the one disk which is the installation target, and leave the storage drives out of it altogether. After the installation is complete, you can reformat the storage drives and get everything set up how you want with a tool like Gparted or KDE Partition Manager.

I’m not sure how to answer that without just repeating the same response again.

  • If you want to just stick the games on there and not really think about it beyond that, use ext4.
  • If you want to use Btrfs features like filesystem snapshots or Btrfs send/receive, use Btrfs.
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All that makes sense, thank you. I will go for that way when the time comes. Which I am sure will be quite soon.

Thank you

btrfs has a tendency to break, and if you’re unlucky it breaks hard.
Btrfs doesn’t like power cuts for example. They can quickly render your system unbootable.

While btrfs does feel kind of unstable at times, it offers snapshots which are worth a ton both to tinkerers and newbies.

For devices that absolutely must not randomly break, I’d choose ext4, in all other cases btrfs would suffice.

But as mentioned above, you can pretty much forget ext4 on garuda.

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“But as mentioned above, you can pretty much forget ext4 on garuda”
you mean the actual OS I take it @UltraBlack ?

The actual OS drive or partition must be BTRFS with Garuda. Secondary drives make ext4, as already mentioned by quite a few others.

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linux can do ext4 any time, but if the garuda tools don’t work you’re mostly on your own with any kind of filesystem problems.

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