What filesystem do you use for external hard disk?

Hi all,

Finally today I backed everything from my 1TB external hard drive, which is NTFS. I'm going to reformat it. However, before formatting it to any filesystem, I would like to know what filesystem linuxers use for external hard disk.

I don't care about using it with Windows or Mac, as I made my PC Linux-only, and it's unlikely that I'll ever use Windows again unless on someone else's PC.

All I care about is that it should be reliable. I just store important stuff on it, so don't want to lose them. Also, my hard disk should last long.

Thanks for your replies!

My vote is ext4.


I use ZFS and give the whole disk over to a zpool.

Then, I benefit from file checksumming, compression, snapshots, send-receive, ...

(and the amazingness that is Sanoid/syncoid)


I think I'll give ZFS a try now. But still would like to know what others prefer.

I'm on ext4, as I lack the brains, technical skill and finesse of @jonathon :grin:

But, it does the job.


I still use NTFS :sweat_smile:


The only (probably silly) cons I found in NTFS are:

  1. $RecycleBin & $SystemVolumeInformation
  2. Has limitations in filenames
  3. ntfsck created a folder "ntfsck0000000" (don't remember exactly how many zeros) in which files were with wierd names. It's not as good as fsck.
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Actually, I have a bit old pc. I will surely ditch NTFS with my old pc.


The major deficiency of NTFS on Linux is file attributes.
But the winning reason to not use NTFS on Linux is that it is build from and for Windows. This explains everything IMHO. :man_shrugging:


ext4. Good old reliable. NTFS is problematic since I don't use Windows and if the filesystem requires repairing, ntfsfix can't get the job done, I have to load Windows ISO using ventoy.

ZFS looks promising. Always been intrigued with "Functional Immortals". :smiley:


I use NTFS. I asked on a linux subreddit and one person there also did the same and never had any issues with it. I also have an old external 1tb hdd thats almost full now that I've had for years on ntfs and nothings broken in it. I will admit ext4 and the rest are better but in a jiffy you're screwed unless you have a linux system lying around to access your files. Then again I only use those drives as a one time dump where I drop off large chunks of data and store it back.


BTRFS. Read the fstab line and you'll know why. :smiley:

UUID=9f53872e-bfbf-44e1-8b71-3203cd6f2f47 /data btrfs defaults,noatime,space_cache,autodefrag,compress=zstd,ssd 0 2


I use exfat :person-shrugging:


The last time I set up a USB backup drive I wiped it, formatted it exFAT, stored all my stuff on it, then encrypted it with veracrypt. I do a differential backup monthly.

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I have a mix of filesystems on here - including f2fs for nvme, ZFS for data, and still a remaining holdout on an external. It is so old I am not sure WHAT it is :grin: Actually I'm pretty sure it's VFAT, with even more potential problems than NTFS! Hasn't given any though, as I've been pretty careful about what I put on it - it's an OLD Seagate (2004?) and has given no trouble...


I finally formatted my HDD to BTRFS :smiley:

At first, I was not able to do anything (copy-paste, create new file/folder, etc.). After a while I realized that, oh yeah, it's Linux filesystem, right... :crazy_face:

I changed the owner from root to me (I should really thank Garuda for making it very easy just with a right-click and Ownership to Active User!)


It's a function of dolphin-plugins and available throughout the Linuxverse. Takes a checkbox to enable it. :smiley: