Disk File Systems

This post lists some popular disk file systems.

List of file systems


FAT is a very old file system, based on 12 or 16 bits.

It was replaced in more modern system by FAT32, and eventually by the current filesystems (ext4 for Linux and macOS X, NTFS for Windows).


FAT32 is probable the most compatible file system of all, readable and writable on most OS, but because of its oldness and 32-bit limitations it has fell behind in functionality.

The maximum size of a FAT32 disk is 4 GB.

It is compatible on Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac OS X.

It was the default file system in early Windows versions (Windows ME and before).


exFAT belongs to the FAT file system family.

Unlike FAT and FAT32, exFAT cannot be converted to NTFS.


Used by GNU/Linux system.

Windows systems are not compatible with this file system.


NTFS is used by newest Windows client OS (since Windows XP, and still used on Windows 11).

Linux systems supports it, but does not use it as default for its own system. NTFS is readable and writable from Linux, though.

NTFS support limited quotas of disk use by users.

Mac OS X does not support NTFS by default. It is still possible to make it read it by modifying default configuration or installing third-party apps.


Resilient File System (ReFS) is a filesystem developed by Microsoft, intended to supersede NFTS.

It was introduced in 2012 on Windows Server 2012.

ReFS does not support limited quotas of disk use by users.

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